Following are the opening remarks by the Chief Superintendent of Police Public Relations Branch, Mr Hui Chun-tak, at the press conference today (October 13):
At about one thirty this afternoon, a large group of protestors, together with representatives of the logistics industry and taxi drivers, rushed to Queensway and attempted to remove the obstacles. It has resulted in confrontations with the other protestors and police officers there. Police understand their voices but urge them to remain calm, so that nobody will get injured. Police Negotiation Cadre and Police Community Relations Officers are already there to urge the protestors to stay restrained. Police have also deployed reinforcement to separate the people holding different views, in order to safeguard public safety and public order. I now appeal to everyone to stay calm and leave as soon as possible.
Police have long been stressing that using obstacles to illegally occupy the roads have seriously affected traffic flow and the daily lives of everyone. We have been advising them to remove the obstacles as soon as possible.
At about five thirty this morning, Police removed some obstacles at 27 spots in Central and Mongkok. Seven sections of the roads have been re-opened.
We want to point out that: reinforcing the existing obstacles or setting up new obstacles to enlarge the occupied area and to block the roads is illegal and extremely irresponsible. Police will collect evidence for investigation on any breach of the law.
In the past few days, Police Negotiation Cadre, Police Community Relations Officers, Government officials and other community groups, including representatives from schools, logistics and construction industry, as well as District Councillors, have respectively visited Queensway and Yee Wo Street to explain to those protestors the extensive impact brought upon the community. Still, they have refused to reduce the occupied areas or remove the obstacles. It has put public interest at stake, increased the grievances in the society and also the risk of confrontation.
Police will soon take actions to take down the obstacles at Queensway and Yee Wo Street, so as to recover part of the roads for public transport and tram services, but not to clear the protestors.
I appeal to the protestors to listen to police advice. Please do not obstruct or even challenge the Police. If anyone obstructs or challenge police officers during the execution of our lawful duties, they will be removed or even arrested. I also appeal to those holding different opinions to remain calm and listen to the advice of our officers at scene. Police will go about our duties impartially.
For the past week or so, traffic in the major roads in Hong Kong Island and Kowloon have been paralysed. Large obstacles obstructing Queensway and the nearby roads are not directly related to the principal protest area. The protestors have enough space to make their voices already. Continual occupation of the roads creates nuisance and is completely unreasonable. Police have to remove these obstacles, so that traffic can at least partially resume. This is not to clear the protestors.
I urge people illegally occupying the roads now not to obstruct or confront our officers when we take actions to remove the obstacles. We will not eliminate the possibility of using minimum force necessary to remove them or to take arrest actions.
Ends/Monday, October 13, 2014
Issued at HKT 18:41