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Opening remarks by Police Senior Superintendent at press conference

     Following are the opening remarks by the Senior Superintendent of Police Public Relations Branch, Mr Kong Man-keung, at the press conference today (November 7):

     First of all, I would like to talk about the series of confrontations happened in the illegally occupied area in Mong Kok on Wednesday night. I noticed that there are various reports on the incidents. Regrettably some of them are inaccurate and may be misleading. I therefore would like to take this opportunity to provide an overall and accurate picture on what had happened.

      At about 11pm on Wednesday, there were large crowds gathering in front of the barricade at the junction of Nathan Road and Argyle Street. Many of them were wearing masks and safety helmets. They disputed with another group of people holding a different view. Police separated them to prevent confrontation and protect them. However, some radical protestors repeatedly used the bright flash light of mobile phones as torches to shine on Police officers continuously to obscure their view and obstructed the officers from performing their duties. Despite repeated warnings, a male continued his disorderly act, and verbally abused and provoked Police officers.

     When Police attempted to arrest this man, a 33-year-old man incited other protestors to create chaos, attemptting to charge and obstruct police officers. After giving repeated warnings, the 33-year-old man was arrested for ‘obstructing police officer’, ‘resisting arrest’ and ‘disorderly conduct’. During the arrest, the man resisted and fell to the ground, resulting in injury to his mouth. He was later sent to hospital for medical treatment. Meanwhile, the man who used flashlight to obstruct Police had escaped in the middle of the chaos.  

     In the course of the event, some protestors, wearing masks and equipped with improvised shoulder and arm pads, hurled abuse at Police officers and had a stand off with the Police. These troublemakers subsequently backed down when Police reinforcement arrived. At about the same time, Police arrested a 50-year-old man for ‘criminal damage’. Both cases are now being handled by District Investigation Team of Mong Kok District.

     At about 2am yesterday, more than a hundred radical protestors and troublemakers, some wearing helmets, staged another organised confrontation with the Police line.  They hurled abuse and acted provocatively, while some even threw safety helmets and miscellaneous items at Police officers. The situation was very chaotic. Despite Police’s repeated warnings, the display of yellow warning banners on the possible use of force and the on guard baton position adopted by officers, these protestors continued their violent acts and repeatedly charged at Police line with umbrellas.  Under such circumstances, Police used pepper spray to restore order to prevent the situation from further deteriorating. During the incident, Police arrested a 24-year-old man for ‘obstructing Police Officer’ and ‘resisting arrest’.

     During these confrontations in Mong Kok, Police had arrested three men aged from 24 to 50. We have also received two complaints against Police, including the previously mentioned 33-year-old arrested person, and a 32-year-old male who alleged being assaulted by Police. The Complaints Against Police Office will investigate these complaints in a fair and impartial manner. And we hope the complainants could provide sufficient information for the investigation.

     As for another protestor who alleged being hit by Police on the head and being kicked for multiple times, when being enquired by Police, he came up with another version which is different from what he had told the media. He told Police that he was assaulted by an unidentified individual in plainclothes with a hard object. The man was later sent to the hospital for treatment, where he refused to provide any statement and did not lodge any complaint against Police. He left the hospital without receiving any medical treatment. The case was classified as ‘assault occasioning actual bodily harm’ and is being investigated by District Investigation Team of Mong Kok District.

     The second point is about Mong Kok remains a high risk area. The chaotic situation that took place in Mong Kok on Wednesday further proved that Mong Kok remains a high risk area. Radical individuals, troublemakers and people holding polarised views are gathering there, and quarrels and physical confrontations are frequent. The risk of serious confrontation is escalating. Some radical individuals and troublemakers deliberately incited other people to provoke Police officers or to charge at Police cordon line with a view to creating chaos.

     I urge protesters, students in particular, to stay away from radical individuals and troublemakers. Do not mix with these radicals in the crowd. Do not take part or be incited to take part in any act of violence and do not charge at Police. When Police are taking enforcement actions, do not put up resistance. Protesters should stay calm and maintain a safe distance from the Police officers. We do not want to see protestors, students in particular, getting hurt when they place themselves close to radical individuals and troublemakers during confrontations.

     Thirdly, I would like to remind the public that the Injunction Orders regarding the illegal occupation of roads in Mong Kok and blockage of access to CITIC Tower, Admiralty, are still in force. I urge the illegal road occupiers to respect the rule of law by complying with the court orders and to leave the areas soonest.

     Police are committed to preserving public peace and public order. We have the responsibility to take actions when individuals forcibly obstruct those authorised to execute the Injunction Orders. Police will take resolute actions if radical individuals violently charge at those authorised to execute the Injunction Orders.

     To conclude, I would like to sum up the key messages today. Firstly, the confrontations in Mong Kok in the night of Wednesday were deliberately staged by radical protestors and troublemakers. They provoked Police officers in an organised manner and our officers had tried their very best to maintain the law and order. Confronted by repeated violent charging, officers at scene had to use the minimum level of force to restore order and to prevent the situation from further deteriorating.

     Secondly, it is evident that Mong Kok remains a high risk area where large-scale confrontations can be sparked off at any moment. Members of the public should stay away from the illegally occupied areas. I urge people holding different opinions to express their views in a peaceful and rational manner. Students, in particular, should stay away from radical individuals and not be incited by them to commit illegal acts or to resort to the use of violence, so as to avoid unnecessary injuries.

     Thirdly, illegal road occupiers should respect the rule of law.  They should not obstruct those authorised to execute the Injunction Orders. Police will remain impartial and steadfast in maintaining law and order. We will continue do our very best in serving all citizens of Hong Kong.

Ends/Friday, November 7, 2014
Issued at HKT 20:15


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