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Opening remarks by Police Chief Superintendent at press conference

     Following are the opening remarks by the Chief Superintendent of Police Public Relations Branch, Mr Hui Chun-tak, at the press conference today (October 12):

     First of all, I will talk about the confrontations in Mong Kok this morning.  In fact, in the past few days, police have stressed, persons illegally occupying the road are illegal.  Mong Kok remains a high risk area.  Police have been urging them to remove the obstacles as soon as possible.

     At about 2am today, some people wanted to reinforce the obstacles outside Bank Centre, Nathan Road. When police officers intercepted them, a group of protesters surrounded and charged the officers.  A male, aged 32, kicked one of the officers, causing him injured.  He was arrested for assaulting police.  The onlookers jeered and followed the arrested person to Mong Kok Police Station.  During the chaos, a lady claimed that she was indecently assaulted.  It aroused jeers.  Police followed our established procedures, and sent the lady to hospital for examination.  Thereafter, the lady stated that she did not wish to pursue further.  Our investigation did not reveal criminal element and the case was classified as miscellaneous incident.

     Later, at the entrance of Mong Kok Police Station, a private car collided with a taxi but did not stop.  It was then surrounded by people gathering there.  They scolded at the driver and hit on the car body.  A male, aged 26, jumped onto the car's bonnet, causing dents on the bonnet and damage to the windscreen.  Police arrested him for criminal damage.

     On the other hand, police asked the driver to alight.   He refused and tried to reverse and leave.  Our officers smashed the car windows, took him out and brought him to police station.  After investigation, police arrested the driver, aged 23, for drug driving.

     In spite of the strong public appeal to remove the obstacles on the blocked road, people illegally obstructing the roads instead tried to further reinforce the obstacles in the early morning.  Radicals and trouble-makers obstructed our officers, acting in provocative manner and stirring up others' emotion.  There were several confrontations and police station was surrounded.  Obviously, these were not peaceful protests. Police strongly condemn their disorderly acts.

     Mong Kok is still a high risk area.  Many troublemakers are gathering there, protesters may be easily provoked.  In the past few days, because of the confrontations since October 3, police have arrested a total of 47 persons, including 43 males and four females, aged between 18 and 71, for the offences of fighting in public place, indecent assault, etc.  We may make further arrests.

     We are closely monitoring the situation and deploying appropriate manpower, to prevent confrontations between persons holding different views, to safeguard public order, public safety and protect life and property.  I emphasise again, Police will continue to carry out our duty impartially, and will not tolerate any violence.

     Although tram service was partly resumed yesterday, I wish to point out the service was forced to be operated with circular routes in three different sectors because of the large obstacles at Yee Wo Street and Queensway.  The three sectors, in Happy Valley, in Western and in Eastern, are not linked and is not really useful for resuming the normal traffic.

     Blockage of Queensway not only affects the East-West tram service, but also citizens in Southern District.  There is no train service in Southern District. The citizens can only rely on the Aberdeen Tunnel and Pok Fu Lam Road.  Now, they have to start going to school or work one to two hours earlier. Tomorrow is a working day, people going to work, students going to school.  It is very likely that traffic congestion will continue or even deteriorate.

     In the past few days, government officials, District Council Chairpersons and Councilors, senior citizens, parents, police negotiation cadre and police community relations officers have proceeded to Queensway to persuade the protesters to remove the obstacles.  I regret, their efforts did not yield any positive result.   Some protesters even mentioned the so called "menu" as conditions for opening Queensway.  These selfish acts disregard public interests and are totally unacceptable.

     I urge people illegally occupying Queensway now, to care about the feelings of the public, remove the obstacles as soon as possible, so that tram service can return to normal.

     I note that some organisers appeal to the protesters to continue the illegal occupation, to expand the area of occupation and even to escalate their actions.  These acts are completely irresponsible and illegal.  I also note that other than the organisers, some people make similar appeals in social media.  I stress, these are illegal.

     Hong Kong is a city under the Rule of Law.  All citizens must obey the law and most of the existing laws are applicable in the real world and on the social media platform.  Anyone breaking the law must bear the criminal liability.

     The general public have shown great grievance towards protesters illegally occupying the roads with obstacles.  Let me appeal here again, they should remove the obstacles as soon as possible and reduce the area of occupation.

     To safeguard public order and public safety, and to ensure that the public can get the emergency services, Police may take appropriate actions when necessary.  If police take actions to remove the obstacles, I hope people illegally occupying the road will not obstruct our actions and challenge our officers.  We do not want to see any confrontation.

Ends/Sunday, October 12, 2014
Issued at HKT 18:53


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