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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 28):

     Yesterday, the Court of First Instance extended the Interim Injunction Order on the illegal occupation of roads in Mong Kok and blockage of access into CITIC Tower, Admiralty.  The Interim Injunction Order remains valid for the time being.  The Judge has reminded members of the public to comply with the Order.

     In our press conference yesterday, Police pointed out that although some of the protesters blocking the CITIC Tower area had removed part of the obstacles outside the building, another group of protesters had, at a later time, mounted another even larger obstacle of 3-metre high with mills barriers to block roads and access into the building.  Meanwhile, I notice that some people insisted not to remove any obstacles in Mong Kok and claimed that they would keep building new ones if any of them were removed.

     The Law Society of Hong Kong, yesterday, expressed deep concerns over the open defiance of Court Injunctions by certain quarters of the Hong Kong community.  The non-compliance of the Court Order would seriously threaten the judicial system and undermine the core values of Hong Kong.

     I have to emphasis that the current illegal occupation of roads is an act of deliberate contravention of law.  The mills barriers that the road occupiers used to build obstacles are misappropriated government properties and the blockage has put people within the occupied area at high risk as emergency vehicles lack direct access to the occupied areas.

     The rule of law has all along been the cornerstone of the success of Hong Kong and it is fundamentally important that everyone should abide by the law.  I urge the protesters who remain at the illegally occupied areas to comply with the Injunction Order.  Police will take actions as necessary against anyone who interferes with those authorised in the due execution of the Injunction Order.  Police are duty bound to preserve public peace and to maintain law and order.  We are committed in taking resolute actions against anyone using violence.

     Yesterday, we saw a number of confrontations and crimes in the illegally occupied areas or during related public events.  A criminal damage case occurred outside Mei Foo MTR station when a campaign booth was set on fire.  In Causeway Bay, a mobile phone snatching case happened in Yee Wo Street near Paterson Street.  Meanwhile, a glass bottle was reportedly being dropped from height on Nathan Road, Mong Kok.

     I cannot emphasis more that the Hong Kong citizens rejected the use of illegal means by anyone in expressing their views or discontentment.  I urge people holding different opinions to express themselves in a peaceful and rational manner.  Police will not tolerate any violent behaviour and will take resolute action against such illegal acts.

     Police have in the past three days arrested 20 persons, including 15 males and five females, aged from 17 to 61, in the illegally occupied areas or during related public activities.  The offences concerned include, assaults, criminal damage, resisting arrest, assaulting police officer, obstructing police officer, etc.

     Police are very concerned about the use of violence against reporters in Tsim Sha Tsui last Saturday and strongly condemned the violent act.  Yesterday, Police arrested a 56-year old man suspected of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, criminal damage and common assault.  And in this afternoon, we further arrested a 50-year old man for the same offences.  We have arrested a total of three men in connection with the case so far.  The case is currently investigated by the Regional Crime Unit of Kowloon West Region and we do not rule out the possibility of further arrest.

     I urge members of the public to stay calm and remain restrained during public events, particularly when a large crowd has gathered and when emotions are running high.  We should all respect the rights of others in peaceful expression of views and should neither provoke others nor be incited by others to breach the peace or even resort to violence.

     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 illegal occupation has stirred up the resentment and grievances in our society.

     In the past month, many sectors of the community have visited the occupied areas or issued appeals trying to persuade the protesters who were illegally blocking the road to leave.  Community leaders and representatives, religious leaders, Vice Chancellors, Government officials, Police Negotiators, Police Community Relations Officers and Fire Services Department Officers have all advised the illegal road occupiers, particularly students and youngsters to consider the need of others, to desist their illegal occupation, remove obstacles and leave the occupied area.  Regrettably, all these efforts were in vain.

     There appears to be no end in sight to the illegal occupation.  The long-term interest of Hong Kong would be hampered if the illegal occupation drags on endlessly.  The adverse impact brought to the daily lives of the general public would be beyond our apprehension and difficult to make amends.

     I believe the society would agree that the occupation movement has deviated from the original 'peace and non-violence' principle as initially proclaimed by the event organisers.  The illegal occupation has germinated a sense of lawlessness among our society and is eroding the rule of law in Hong Kong.

     As professional law enforcement agency, Police are most concerned to see the erosion of our most valued rule of law.  Only offenders and criminals would benefit from the defiance of the rule of law while the majority of the community suffers.

     At this point of time, Police are shouldering the very important and onerous responsibilities of maintaining law and order and protecting public safety and public order.  We have been adopting a very tolerant and restrained approach in handling the illegal occupation protesters.  We do not want to see a large number of persons getting injured, especially students, during large-scale confrontations.

     We urge all the illegal occupiers to desist from illegally occupying the roads and to leave the occupied areas, which would allow the restoration of public order and resumption of the normal daily lives of our society.

Ends/Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Issued at HKT 18:36


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