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 (November 2):
     The first point is about the prolonged illegal occupation and blockage of roads.  Police are concerned about the continued illegal occupation and blockage of major roads as well as a recent claim by protestors of having abundant supplies to sustain their prolonged occupations which have lasted for more than a month.  It is regretful that the protestors continue to use illegal occupation of major roads to express their discontentment as if they are not aware that majority of the public is now suffering from the adverse consequences so created.
     The fact remains that the daily lives and livelihoods of the general public have been seriously affected in the past month due to the illegal occupation.  The occupation has affected various sectors either directly or indirectly.  The direct impact has been reflected by the loss of business of the retail, food and transportation industries, etc.  The general public have been suffering from different degrees of interruption, whether they need to go to work or go to school.  Although there appears to be no large-scale confrontations in the illegally occupied areas recently, and the public have been most tolerant, it is an indisputable fact that members of the public are now really suffering from the negative impacts of the illegal occupation of major roads.
     In fact, there are still daily conflicts and crimes relating to the illegal occupation.  Yesterday in Mong Kok, a man positioned himself at height to express his grievances about the loss of his job as a result of the prolonged illegal occupation.  Yesterday afternoon, people holding different views verbally abused one another and Police were deployed to the scene to prevent confrontations.  In the early morning in Central, a couple, while walking past the junction of Connaught Road Central and Jackson Road, had a dispute with a male. The two males had a fight against each other.  The female was hit by another male with a skateboard.  Police arrested the two males for 'Fighting in a Public Place'.  Police are concerned about the growing tendency of confrontations and people not abiding by the law.  We urge members of the public to remain calm and peaceful when they are expressing their opinions, and should under no circumstances resort to violence.
     As we can see, the occupation movement has deviated from its original principle and caused much disruption to the normal lives of the general public.  There are increasing grievances and clear public view that the unlawful assemblies and illegal blockage of roads cannot drag on indefinitely.  Various sectors of the society have clearly voiced out their views that the protestors should end the illegal occupation of major roads as soon as possible so that the roads can be re-opened and public order restored.
     At the start of the illegal occupation movement, the initiators had openly called on people to come out to block the major roads.  Now, while they are gradually fading into the background, they have not shown the ethics or the courage to openly call for an end to the illegal occupations.  This is irresponsible and has blatantly disregarded the well being of the students as well as the interests of the general public who have to endure the serious disruption of their daily lives.  The initiators and organizers should not evade their responsibilities by giving the excuses that they are incapable of calling for an end to the illegal occupation or their plea will not be heard.  They should have the courage to take the lead to call for an end to the illegal occupation for the sake of the studentsˇ¦ safety and long-term benefits of Hong Kong.  I hope they have the courage to respond to the clear demands of the general public by asking the protestors to go home as this is the only way to shoulder responsibility and to truly respect the rule of law.
     The second point is about the rule of law.  Yesterday some representatives of the transportation industry have filed another application of Injunction Order to the Court of First Instance against the illegal occupation on Connaught Road, Harcourt Road and Cotton Tree Drive, etc.  Whilst the application is still await hearing, I must point out that the Injunction Orders regarding the illegal occupation of roads in Mong Kok and the blockage of access to CITIC Tower, Admiralty are still in force.  I urge the illegal road occupiers to respect the rule of law and comply with the Court orders and leave the areas soonest.
     I reiterate if any person obstructs the authorized persons to execute the Injunction Orders, Police are duty bound to take action to safeguard the public safety and public order.  Police will take resolute actions if anyone resorts to violence against the authorized persons in executing the Injunction Orders.
     I urge the protesters, in particular students, to stay away from radical individuals and troublemakers.  Do not mix with them in the crowd and do not be incited to take part in any violent acts.  When Police are executing our statutory duties, do maintain a safe distance, and do not put up resistance or charge at Police.  We do not want to see anyone, especially students, being hurt when they mix with radical protestors and troublemakers during confrontations.
     In addition, I notice on the Internet that some people are trying to convey a very negative message about Police to young children and depict police officers as bad people. This is highly irresponsible.
     The rule of law is the cornerstone supporting the success of Hong Kong and Police are under the duty to enforce the law, to maintain law and order and to safeguard public safety and public order.  The good public order and low crime rate in Hong Kong depends on the joint efforts of the law abiding public, a professional police force and the good cooperation between Police and the public.
     In the past month, the illegal occupiers have been flouting the law, assembling unlawfully and occupying major roads illegally.  Some of the radical protestors committed criminal damage, disorderly conduct, snatched mills barriers, insulted police officers and even surrounded our officers attempting to free arrested persons forcibly.  These illegal acts have seriously undermined our most core value of the rule of law.  If the situation continues, can you imagine how it would affect our next generation? It is now the right time to tell the next generation the need to respect the rule of law and the importance of cooperation between Police and the public.  Image this, if a child faces emergency or crime, do you want to see him or her getting confused as to whether to seek Police help or not?  Do you really want to see them insulting law enforcers and ignoring the rule of law?  I have repeatedly urged parents not to bring their young children to the illegally occupied area, either as spectators or staying overnight, particular in Mong Kok as it remains a high risk area.  Regrettably, there are still parents bringing their children to the illegal occupied areas in Mong Kok and staying overnight.  This irresponsible act will expose children to unnecessary risk of getting hurt.
     The endless illegal assembly and occupation of roads have caused significant adverse impacts on the daily lives of our citizens.  The public safety and public order have been seriously disrupted and the rule of law undermined.   I urge the initiators and organizers of these illegal occupations, for the sake of the interest of the general public, to shoulder responsibility, respect the court orders, and call on the illegal occupiers to remove the road obstacles and go home peacefully, so that traffic can be resumed and normal daily lives and public order can be restored.

Ends/Sunday, November 2, 2014
Issued at HKT 18:27