Following are the opening remarks by the Chief Superintendent of Police Public Relations Branch, Mr Hui Chun-tak, at the press conference today (October 25).
First, I would like to talk about the situation in Mong Kok. Yesterday, there were still confrontations amongst people holding strong and opposite views in the illegally occupied areas. They had hot disputes, physical confrontations and they chased one another on the streets. The situation was very chaotic. Police officers at scene immediately separated them and asked them to stay calm and restrained in order to prevent the situation from further deteriorating.
Despite the fact that Police had taken necessary actions, individuals had criticized Police for not handling the incidents promptly with enforcement actions. I must point out that, this accusation is totally unreasonable and unfair to our officers who have remained devoted and steadfast at the front line day in and day out. Since noon yesterday, there were five common assault cases reported in the illegal occupied areas in Mong Kok. Police had arrested six men aged between 32 and 51.
In one case, a man was pushed to the ground by a protestor using a shield. In another case, a press cameraman was assaulted when he was filming the confrontation in Mong Kok. For both cases, Police had arrested two men, aged 31 and 29 respectively for common assault. Both cases are now being investigated by the Mong Kok District Investigation Team. I stress that it is unlawful for demonstrators to use obstacles to totally block and occupy the roads and protesters gathering there are taking part in an unlawful assembly. All these illegal behaviors are the source of the frequent conflicts and confrontations in the area.
Over the past period of time, Police have deployed suitable manpower in uniform and in plainclothes to safeguard public safety, public order and to prevent crime. Police reiterate that we will not tolerate any violent behavior. If there is any breach of the peace or violent act, Police will take resolute actions regardless of the perpetuatorˇ¦s background.
I note that, the Court of First Instance has adjourned the hearing on the application for Injunction Order against illegal road obstructions and blockage of passageway to the coming Monday.
At this time, the Interim Injunction Orders are still in force. Since the Injunction Orders are of civil nature, generally speaking, Police will not be directly involved in the execution. In this regard, the plaintiffs or their agents can take lawful and appropriate measures to execute the Order. I urge that all parties should remain restrained and avoid any unnecessary confrontation. Police will deploy suitable manpower and take appropriate actions to maintain law and order, ensure safety and prevent crime at the scene.
The people now unlawfully assembled in Mong Kok areas have gone against their proclaimed principle of 'peaceful and non-violent' behavior. They have not only breached the law but have also jeopardized public order. They charged at Police cordon lines and obstructed Police in the execution of duties. On one hand, they asked Police to protect them during confrontations, on the other hand, they willfully obstructed Police in going about their duties. They even asked Police only to arrest offenders who held views different from them. But when Police arrested offenders who held the same views as theirs, they surrounded and verbally abused Police; charged at Police and demanded for the release of the offenders. These selfish means to pursue their own agenda and refusing to accept legal responsibility for their unlawful acts are totally contrary to what they have claimed as willingness to accept the legal consequence by pursuing the so-called 'civil disobedience'.
Protestors who are illegally occupying the roads in Mong Kok are now taking part in an unlawful assembly. The situation there is volatile. I have repeatedly pointed out that confrontations of various scales and criminal offences are taking place in the occupied area in Mong Kok almost everyday. Large scale confrontation can be sparked off at any time. Unfortunately, there are still a large number of protestors illegally gathering thereat. Some were dressed in different costumes, concealing their own identities as if they were going to a carnival. However, the fact remains that this is an unlawful assembly which has affected many people. I cannot see the connections of these acts with their public claims.
What is most worrying is that, at night, we can still see students wearing uniform wandering about in the occupied areas and also parents taking their children to these high risk area. I must emphasize that the gathering in the occupied area in Mong Kok is an unlawful assembly. The situation in Mong Kok is by far more chaotic and dangerous than the other illegally occupied areas. There are radical protestors and trouble makers mixing with others in the unlawful assembly. Large scale confrontations can spark off in any moment. Members of the public, especially youngsters and students are urged not to go to the illegally occupied area in Mong Kok. It is also not advisable to stay there as spectators. Parents should not bring their children to these high risks areas, which will expose themselves and their children to unnecessary harm.
The Hong Kong Police Force is a professional law enforcement agency. Every officer has received professional training. We are capable of and confident in handling this current unprecedented challenge. Our officers have remained impartial steadfast and devoted, exercising our greatest restraint for the better good of Hong Kong.
Our aim is to safeguard public safety and public order. We do not want to see anyone getting injured in confrontations, no matter whether they are protestors, members of the public or Police officers. As the daily lives and livelihood of many people have been seriously affected, more grievances and conflicts will arise if the illegal occupation of roads continue. I sincerely hope that the protestors illegally occupying the roads can respect the court orders and the rule of law. They should cease occupying the roads so that the daily lives of the members of the public will not be further seriously disturbed.
Ends/Saturday, October 25, 2014
Issued at HKT 17:45