Following are the opening remarks by the Senior Superintendent of Police Public Relations Branch, Mr Kong Man-keung, at the press conference today (October 30).
Police have been reiterating our concern regarding the growing tendency of people not abiding by the laws following the illegal occupation and blockage of roads. The illegal behaviour erodes our most treasured value of the rule of law, which is the cornerstone of the success of Hong Kong. Regrettably, some of the illegal occupiers openly denied their legal liability, claiming that they had not breached any laws. I emphasis that no one can be above the rule of law irrespective of the grounds. The general public will not accept or agree to the illegal occupiers・ open defiance to the rule of law.
Yesterday, we saw a number of conflicts and crimes related to the illegal occupations. In Admiralty, a male threatened to stab others to death with a 6-inch long knife in a dispute emanating from the collection of supplies. District Investigation Team of Central Police District is now investigating the case. These crimes and the growing tendency of not abiding by the law are of much concern.
Secondly, I would like to remind the public that the Court of First Instance has extended the Interim Injunction Order on the illegal occupation of roads in Mong Kok and the blockage of access to CITIC Tower in Admiralty. The Interim Injunction Order remains valid for the time being. I urge illegal road occupiers to respect the rule of law and to comply with the order of the court by ceasing all illegal occupations and to leave the occupied areas promptly. Police reiterate that we are committed to preserving public peace and order and will take actions against anyone who obstructs those authorized to execute the Injunction Order. We have repeatedly pointed out that the illegal occupied area in Mong Kok is of a higher risk of turning chaotic than other areas. There are radical protestors and troublemakers holding different views thereat and large-scale confrontation can be sparked off any time. Police will take resolute enforcement actions against anyone using violence against those authorized persons in executing the Injunction Order.
I notice that some radical protestors have openly encouraged others to hide their identity and wear masks during the illegal occupation of roads with a willful purpose to resist and to evade legal liability. I urge other protestors to stay away from these radical individuals and troublemakers. Do not mix with these radicals in the crowd and do not take part or be incited to take part in any act of violence. When police officers are executing duties on the ground, do maintain a safe distance from them. We do not want to see anyone, especially students, being hurt when they place themselves close to radical individuals and troublemakers during their violent acts.
The illegal blockage and occupation of roads have lasted for more than a month. It has created serious traffic congestions and blockages across the territory and adversely affected the daily lives and livelihoods of many citizens. It has also affected the income of drivers and the business of small shops. The unlawful assemblies and illegal blockage of roads have not only undermined the rule of law but also stirred up the resentment and grievances in our society.
Despite these circumstances, I note that some illegal occupiers even claimed that they intend to continue their illegal occupation of roads for a year or longer. They also claimed that they would block other locations even if they were removed. I must reiterate that the unlawful assemblies and illegal occupation of roads are against the laws. The indefinite illegal occupation of roads by the protestors, in pursuing their goals and expressing their discontentment, has unfairly harmed the livelihood of citizens who have to bear with the hardship and adverse consequence.
The long-term interest of Hong Kong would be harmed if the illegal occupation drags on endlessly and all Hong Kong citizens would have to pay the price.
To conclude, Police have all along remained politically neutral. It is our statutory duty to preserve public order and safety and to protect the life and property of citizens without fear or favour. Police have been adopting a very tolerant and restrained approach in handling protestors illegally occupying the roads and we do not want to see anyone getting injured, whether they are protestors, students in particular, the general public or our officers, as a result of large-scale confrontations.
The general public would agree that the occupy movement has deviated from the original ．peace・, ．non-violence・ and ．acceptance of legal responsibility・ principles as declared by the initiators and organizers. I urge the initiators and organizers to demonstrate courage by calling an end to the illegal occupation and to shoulder the proclaimed legal responsibility. This is the only way to avoid injuries to the protestors out there, particularly the students, to truly respect the rule of law and to safeguard Hong Kong・s long-term interests.
Ends/Thursday, October 30, 2014
Issued at HKT 18:49