Following are the opening remarks by the Chief Superintendent of Police Public Relations Branch, Mr Hui Chun-tak, at the press conference today (October 22):
From time to time, we have stressed that the Police will stick to the principle of political neutrality and strive to maintain the law and order and protect the lives and property of members of the community in accordance with the law and in a fair, just and impartial manner. These are our legal responsibilities.
As pointed out by the Chief Secretary for Administration yesterday at the meeting between the government and the students, the law enforcement agencies, including the Police, have shown restraint and forbearance to the utmost degree when dealing with acts that were utterly illegal, out of their concern for the students and in the hope that they would leave by themselves peacefully.
Over the past twenty odd days, in addition to other government officials and community leaders, our Police senior management, spokespersons, frontline officers and Police Negotiators, etc., have, through press conferences, press briefings and face-to-face encounters, repeatedly and sincerely urged those people taking part in the illegal assemblies, in particular the students and young people, to leave as soon as possible.
As you may all know, our frontline officers have put in their best efforts and remained committed no matter how difficult their tasks have been. From time to time, warnings have been given to participants and radical protestors in these illegal assemblies in order to try and avoid greater clashes and chaos as well as injuries to people.
Regrettably, the advocates and organizers have failed to uphold their self-proclaimed principle of ．non-violent・ movement. They claimed they were willing to shoulder legal responsibility and refrain from resisting when they were arrested. However, there are still some people who call on more people to join the illegal assemblies with a view to boosting the movement to its height. What we have seen from TV and the media coverage tell a different story from the so-called non-violent movement. People in the unlawful assemblies are mingled with radical protesters and trouble-markers who have fanned the sentiment of those at the spot, provoked the Police, snatched mills barriers and threw them at the Police, and even attacked and charged our cordon lines. When Police made arrests, they not only resisted us in execution of duties but also escalated their violent behaviour, surrounded our colleagues, police vehicles or police stations to demand the release of the arrested persons, and even attempted to ．snatch arrestees・. Such lawless acts are definitely not what they claimed as peaceful protest. With no other alternatives, officers have had to use the minimum level of force to uphold law and order and brought those arrested persons back to police stations for follow-up investigation.
The rule of law is the cornerstone upon which Hong Kong relies to succeed. There is no doubt that all citizens should abide by the laws. Members of the public should stay calm and restrained, and express their views in a rational and peaceful manner. This is what the community of Hong Kong will accept and expect. Should any troublemakers be arrested for illegal acts, people at scene should not attempt to obstruct or resist, or even attack our officers or block their way. Under such circumstances, Police will take resolute actions to restore order.
In the past few weeks, police officers have been repeatedly verbally abused and unfairly treated in the course of executing their duties. In addition, some people have gone so far as to upload the personal data of our officers, their families and children onto the Internet, where they were made targets of constant personal attacks in the social media. Some people even called on others to bully our officers・ children at school. All these have caused unnecessary nuisances to our officers and their families, and also concern for their personal safety. The Police condemn these despiteful cyber-bullying acts. Please try to put yourselves in the shoes of our officers and their families, and image how you would feel if you were victims of such cyber bullying. The Police would like to see an end to all these acts, and to remind members of the public that laws in the real world are also applicable to the cyberspace.
This morning, our Technology Crime Division arrested a 20-year-old man for criminal intimidation in Wan Chai. He is now being detained for further enquiries.
I have noted from media coverage that, in the occupied area in Mong Kok and on the Internet, someone have incited others to block or occupy the Hong Kong International Airport in an attempt to create chaos. Such behaviour is extremely irresponsible and must be strongly condemned.
The Hong Kong International Airport is a very important critical infrastructure. Anyone who disrupts the public order or behaves improperly thereat commits an offence. Besides, the public safety, public order and the behaviour of people in the airport area are strictly governed by the Airport Authority Bylaw. Any acts causing nuisance or chaos may constitute an offence under the Public Order Ordinance or the Airport Authority Bylaw.
I have to point out that inciting people through the Internet to act illegally is against the law. Hong Kong is a law-abiding society and all members of the public must abide by the laws of Hong Kong. Anyone who commits an unlawful act, whether in the real or in the cyber world, is liable to criminal prosecution. Police will continue to collect evidence, investigate and take arrest actions when necessary.
I would like to talk about the situation in Mong Kok. Police have stressed for a number of days that Mong Kok is still a high-risk area though there were no large-scale confrontations in the past few days. People staying there include radical protesters and troublemakers. The occupied streets in Mong Kok remain a high-risk area.
We have already issued press releases, made public announcements to remind parents not to bring their children to this area. When children were seen there, our Police Negotiators and Police Community Relation Officers had approached them and persuaded them to leave. However, I still note that some parents still brought their kids, even a two-month old baby, to the occupied streets in Mong Kok to take part in the unlawful assemblies. This is extremely dangerous and irresponsible. They may get hurt during the confrontations.
I appeal to members of the public, especially the youngsters and students, not to go to the illegally occupied area in Mong Kok. Please take care of your own safety and protect yourself from unnecessary harm. For the safety of your own and your children, I also urge that parents and their children to leave this high-risk area in Mong Kok at once.
Lastly, Police appeal to the protestors illegally occupying the roads to remain calm and restrained, and to leave the roads soonest so as to minimize the hardship and inconvenience caused to members of the public. In addition, I reiterate, even at this difficult moment, all our officers remain united and steadfast in serving the people of Hong Kong.
Ends/Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Issued at HKT 18:38