Following are the opening remarks by the Chief Superintendent of Police Public Relations Branch, Mr Hui Chun-tak, at the press conference today (October 21):
I believe that you are aware that yesterday the Court of First Instance granted injunctions requiring protesters to clear the roads illegally occupied in Admiralty and Mong Kok and forbid them from preventing the removal of obstacles from those areas.
The Court has pointed out that the occupying behaviours have already deprived other peopleˇ¦s right to use the roads in Mong Kok. The protesters should not disregard the interests of other members of the public by totally blocking the roads there. The occupation activities have lasted for a long time with widespread effects, which has exceeded the boundary of what is reasonable. It has increased chances for serious public disorder. In the past days, occupying activities have already caused serious disturbances to the society. It has affected the earnings of the transportation industry. In addition, blockade to the emergency exits of the CITIC Tower also posed huge safety risks. I hope the protesters can respect the court order.
All along the Police have been stressing that the illegal occupation of the roads in Mong Kok and Admiralty has already caused severe disruption to the daily lives of the public, paralyzing the traffic in the nearby areas and posing serious threats to the emergency vehicles.
As a matter of fact, in the past period of time, Government officials, Chairpersons of the District Councils, local leaders, transportation industry representatives, members of the public, Police Negotiators and Police Community Relations Officers have been advising the protesters to remove the obstacles. Regrettably, the protesters have refused.
I sincerely hope that the people illegally occupying the roads can respect court order and the rule of law. They should stop occupying the roads at once so that the daily lives of the people will not be seriously affected.
We still have grave concern regarding the situation in Mong Kok. Although there was no large-scale confrontation in the past two days, the occupied streets in Mong Kok remain a high risk area.
Over the period, large number of illegal road occupiers have been blocking the carriageway causing serious impacts on the traffic in Mong Kok. Some radical protesters and trouble-makers kept charging the Police cordon lines, challenged the Police and created chaos. Their acts are illegal and affect the public order.
Since October 3, Police have arrested 94 people at the occupied areas in Mong Kok, including 87 males and 7 females aged from 18 to 71, for offences of Common Assault, Criminal Damage, Disorderly Conduct in Public Place, Resisting Arrest, Obstructing a Police Officer, Possession of Offensive Weapon, etc. Since the illegal occupation, confrontations occurred when radical protesters charged our cordon lines. Up to this morning, we have a report of 61 officers injured.
I urge the protesters in the unlawful assemblies, especially children, students and youths, that they should take heed of their personal safety and stay away from the high-risk area in Mong Kok, so as to avoid unnecessary harm.
Throughout the past weeks, Police have been receiving support from various groups in the community, including the 18 District Councils, 18 District Fight Crime Committees, different organisations, sectors, members of the public in the forms of appreciation letters, emails or personal visits to police stations in recognition of the hardship that the frontline officers have undergone in safeguarding the common good of the society. I would like to express my sincere gratitude towards them on behalf of the Force.
I also learn from newspapers that some members of the public are planning to donate money in support of our frontline officers. I would like to state that the acceptance of advantages by officers is governed by the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance and the Acceptance of Advantages (CEˇ¦s Permission) Notice. Police have a Police Welfare Fund, which has been established in accordance with the Police Force Ordinance. Stringent screening procedures would be followed before the management committee decides on whether to accept or decline the donation. In addition, the Civil Service Bureau will also review such applications. Any conflict of interest will not be allowed. Any application for acceptance of advantages, shall strictly comply with said rules and regulations.
Lastly, I appeal again, persons illegally occupying the roads should respect the rule of law and obey the court order so that peopleˇ¦s daily lives and traffic could be restored.
Police will closely monitor the development and take appropriate action according to the prevailing circumstances. I reiterate, Police will continue to execute duties impartially and will not tolerate any violent acts.
Ends/Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Issued at HKT 18:16