Following are the opening remarks by the Chief Superintendent of Police Public Relations Branch, Mr Hui Chun-tak, at the press conference today (October 19).
First of all, I will talk about the confrontations that took place in Mong Kok earlier this morning. At about mid-night, people illegally occupying Nathan Road near Argyle Street suddenly pulled away the mill barriers there and charged the Police cordon, trying to occupy the road junction. Repeated warnings were issued to the radical protesters to stop charging the Police cordon. However, they were all ignored.
To prevent worsening of the situation and harm to members of the public, onlookers and Police officers, Police took decisive actions to push back the protesters with pepper spray and baton. After resetting the mill barriers, Police retreated to the cordon line without taking any clearance action.
The occupied area in Mong Kok remains a very high-risk area. Activists from radical organisations as well as trouble-makers are mingling with other protesters. From time to time they plan, organise and direct various actions to provoke our officers and create chaos. As you can see from the media coverage, their acts in the past two consecutive nights were completely illegal and had jeopardised public order. These acts were totally contrary to their self-proclaimed principle of 'peaceful and non-violent' movement and were entirely unconnected with their demands. Here the Police strongly condemn their violent acts.
From yesterday evening until this morning, Police arrested four men, aged from 25 to 37, for the offences of "common assault", "assault occasioning actual bodily harm", "disorderly conduct in public place" and "possession of offensive weapon" in Mong Kok. I wish to highlight the case of "possession of offensive weapon" where two sharp knives, one was a 45 cm long serrated foldable knife and the other was a 18 cm long sickle, were found in the rucksack of a 25-year-old man who had charged the Police cordon. I stress that these knives are highly dangerous weapons posing a severe threat to public safety.
In the confrontations in Mong Kok this morning, five police officers sustained various degrees of injuries ranging from serious bruises on limbs, twisted fingers and arms, and dislocation of shoulder joint.
I also note some parents have brought young kids to the unlawful assembly in Mong Kok. Because of the high risk situation there, I urge the general public, especially youngsters and students, not to go to the occupied area in Mong Kok. You should take great care of your personal safety to avoid any harm.
In addition, some people have tried to incite others, through the internet, to re-occupy Mong Kok and to paralyse the traffic in West Kowloon. Under the current volatile circumstances in Mong Kok, such incitement is trampling the interests of the general public. Were these protests 'peaceful and non-violent', or were they just a reckless means to vent their frustration? I stress, inciting others to commit criminal acts on the internet is illegal. Police will investigate, gather evidence, and take arrest action.
The Hong Kong society accept rational and peaceful ways to express views and aspirations. And the rule of law is the cornerstone upon which Hong Kong succeed. It is unquestionable that all Hong Kong citizens must obey the law.
Police note that on the internet, some persons have incited other people to take part in the unlawfully assemblies in Mong Kok and Admiralty.
Yesterday evening, Police arrested a 23-year-old man in Tin Shui Wai area for the offences of "access to computer with criminal or dishonest intent" and "unlawful assembly". Our initial enquiries revealed that the arrested person incited others on an online forum to join the unlawful assembly in Mong Kok, to charge at Police and to paralyse the railways. He is also suspected of taking part in the unlawful assembly in Mong Kok on October 17. This man has been released on Police bail pending further investigation.
The unlawful assembly in Mong Kok has made the vicinity a high risk area. Inciting others to take part in unlawful assembly in that area and charging Police cordon will escalate the risk, and is a very serious criminal offence.
Police remind the public that the Internet environment is not a lawless world. According to the laws of Hong Kong, the majority of the laws in the real world are also applicable to the cyber world.
As a final note, Police will continue to closely monitor the situation in various occupied areas. I emphasise again Police will continue to carry out our duties impartially and will not tolerate any acts of violence.
Ends/Sunday, October 19, 2014
Issued at HKT 19:30