Following are the opening remarks by the Chief Superintendent of Police Public Relations Branch, Mr Hui Chun-tak, at the press conference today (December 1).
The first point I would like to talk about is the charging of Police check lines. Last night and this early morning, a lot of people taking part in the unlawful assembly, with radicals and troublemakers mixing among them, violently charged at Police and blocked the roads. Their acts seriously disrupted public order and public safety. Police strongly condemned these riotous acts.
At around 9pm last night, some student organizations provoked other citizens in the illegally occupied area in Admiralty to bring along different supplies, such as helmets, masks, goggles and umbrellas to surround the Central Government Offices. Radicals and troublemakers were found in between the crowd who created chaos deliberately. Some of them took command to incite others to violently charge Police in an organized manner. Some people were injured as a result. During the charging, these rioters stole materials from a nearby construction site, moved mills barriers, water barriers and bricks around and damaged government properties so as to block the roads again. It was obvious that these troublemakers committed the violent acts in a premeditated and organized manner.
You could all see from television broadcast that the violent acts of these rioters had deviated from their proclaimed ．non-violence・, ．no charging of Police・ and ．no vandalism・ principles. It was also a complete opposite of the principle of ．peace・.
In the past few days, Police had pointed out that there was high risk of radicals and troublemakers merging into the unlawful assembly. The situation might turn chaotic and the unlawful assembly would be of very high-risk. Police had repeatedly reminded and urged members of the public, particularly students, not to participate in the unlawful assembly. We had also warned the people taking part in the unlawful assembly not to provoke and charge at Police, to maintain a safe distance from the radicals and troublemakers, and not to take part or be incited to take part in any violent acts. Police do not want to see protestors, particularly students, getting injured when they place themselves in the middle of the charging acts of radicals and troublemakers.
It is a fact that the violent charging of Police by these radicals and troublemakers was premeditated and organized. They violently advanced towards Police check lines, carrying their own shields made of wooden planks and metal nails. These people behaved in an extremely provocative manner, including the deliberate throwing of various objects at Police, such as pepper powder, powder of unknown nature, helmets, water bottles, canned drinks and eggs etc. Some of them also used strong light to obscure the views of officers, to spray officers with a fire extinguisher, to verbally abuse our officers and incite others to charge Police lines.
Police had repeatedly advised and warned the protestors through public announcements and display of warning banners at scene. However, they took no heed of our warnings. With no other alternatives, Police used the minimum level of force commensurate with the circumstances, including the spraying of water, pepper spray, pepper based solution and batons to stop the violent and illegal acts and to restore public order.
In addition, Police raided a residential flat in Tai Kok Tsui yesterday. Police seized three modified air guns and a large number of makeshift wooden shields. There were reasons to believe that these equipment would be used in the illegally occupied areas. In the operation, Police arrested four males and one female for the offences of ．possession of firearms without license・ and ．possession of instruments fit for unlawful purpose・. The case is now being investigated by a Crime Wing unit.
At around 10am this morning, three plainclothes police officers walked past Admiralty Center after completing their duties in Admiralty. More than 40 protestors suddenly surrounded the three officers and attacked them. Other Police officers later came to reinforce and disperse the assailants. In the incident, six Police officers were injured, including abrasions to right eye, head, arm and limbs. One of the officers suffered serious injury, was once unconscious, and is now admitted in hospital for observation. Police arrested a 30-year-old male for ．assaulting Police・. Police strongly condemned these irrational and violent acts.
In the operation last night and this morning, 17 police officers were injured. One of the officers sustained two open wounds on his right arm as he was hit by a makeshift shield which was made of wooden planks, metal nails and screws. Other officers had fractures in finger, bleeding at eye corner after being hit by hard objects and some had sustained multiple bruises.
The second point is about the blockage of Lung Wo Road last night. You are aware that, since the illegal occupation of Harcourt Road commenced two months ago, Lung Wo Road has become the major thoroughfares connecting the east and west of Hong Kong Island and is also an emergency vehicle access route. At around 9.35pm, a large number of radicals and troublemakers suddenly dashed onto Lung Wo Road to illegally block all the four vehicle lanes. Their acts seriously disrupted the traffic flow. Some of them even pushed towards Police check lines with mills barriers and makeshift shields.
Police emphasized that these illegal acts were extremely irresponsible and dangerous, disregarding the personal safety of those involved and other road users. Police issued multiple advice and warnings but these radicals took no heed of them. To re-open Lung Wo Road, to protect public safety and maintain public order, Police took resolute actions to disperse the illegal road occupiers and remove the obstacles on Lung Wo Road by exercising the minimum level of force commensurate with the circumstances.
East and west bounds of Lung Wo Road were re-opened at 7.31am this morning. In the operation, Police arrested 40 persons, including 35 males and five females, for the offences of ．possession of offensive weapon・, ．theft・, ．disorderly conduct in public place・ and ．unlawful assembly・. All the arrested persons are being detained for further enquiries.
I reiterate that the illegal road occupations have disrupted the public order of Hong Kong and eroded the foundation of the rule of law. The illegal road occupiers disregarded Police advice and warnings continuously and occupied Lung Wo Road twice. They behaved in a riotous manner and showed no consideration for the safety of the general public. Police strongly condemned these acts.
The third point is about the situation in Mong Kok. From last night to this early morning, a lot of radicals still gathered in Mong Kok, Yau Ma Tei and Tsim Sha Tsui in an attempt to block the roads again. Police repeatedly advised and warned these radicals to leave but they refused to comply and continued to scatter around the area. These radicals put up various excuses to block the roads, crossed the roads to and fro slowly and stood on the vehicle lanes to obstruct pedestrians and vehicles deliberately. Some of them even shouted loudly in the middle of the night to create chaos and to upset traffic flow and public order intentionally. The selfish acts of these radicals caused great disturbances and the general public would neither accept nor agree with them.
In the incident, Police arrested 12 males in Mong Kok, aged between 20 and 64, for the offences of ．obstructing Police・, ．possession of offensive weapon・, ．disorderly conduct in public place・, ．assaulting Police・ and ．resisting arrest・.
I now conclude my messages today. Police strongly condemned the acts of these rioters who surrounded the Central Government Offices and re-blocked Lung Wo Road. Their behaviors were completely irrational. Police urge members of the public, particularly students, to stay away from these people and do not commit, or be incited to commit, any radical acts.
Hong Kong society agrees with the use of rational and peaceful means to express one・s views. Police will not tolerate any violent acts that disrupt public order and public safety and will take resolute actions accordingly. I emphasize that Police have the determination and capability to take stringent enforcement actions in order to protect public safety and restore public order.
Ends/Monday, December 1, 2014
Issued at HKT 20:46