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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 (November 26):

     Yesterday and today, Police provided full assistance to the plaintiffs and bailiffs in executing the Injunction Orders along Argyle Street and Nathan Road.  As mentioned in yesterday's press statement, Police also used other powers conferred by the law to clear the obstructions at various locations in Mong Kok, including the road junctions on Portland Street and Argyle Street, Sai Yeung Choi South Street and Shantung Street, and Nathan Road and Shantung Street.

     As you can see from the media footages and reports, some illegal road occupiers openly defied the law and disregarded the court orders by obstructing the plaintiffs and bailiffs in the execution of the Injunction Orders. Subsequently, at the request of the bailiffs, Police assisted in the execution of the Injunction Orders, removed the obstacles, dispersed and arrested the protestors who continued to illegally occupy the roads.  However, Police faced strong resistance.  In the course of assisting in the execution of Court orders, Police arrested a total of 55 persons, aged between 14 and 69 for the offences of 'Criminal Contempt of Court' and 'Obstructing a Public Officer in Execution of Duty'.

     Last evening, a large group of protestors unlawfully assembled on Portland Street. They then moved to the areas of Shanghai Street, Shantung Street, Reclamation Street and Ferry Street to continue with the unlawful assembly and blockage of roads.  They used iron railings and wooden pellets to create barricades and created chaos.  Some even threw bamboo poles and miscellaneous items at our officers and caused physical confrontations.  To preserve public order and public peace, Police took resolute actions to disperse and arrest these people. As a result, 93 persons (89 males and 4 females) were arrested for the offences of 'Resisting Arrest', 'Disorderly Conduct in a Public Place', 'Possession of Offensive Weapons', 'Unlawful Assembly', 'Assaulting Police' and 'Obstructing Police' etc. In the 'Possession of Offensive Weapon' case, the arrested male was found in possession of an axe, a metal hammer and a crowbar.  Police will investigate all the cases seriously and collect evidence with a view to laying criminal charges accordingly.  In the operations in these two days, 22 Police officers were injured.  Police condemn the violent acts of the radical protestors who disrupted public order, defied the court orders and undermined the rule of law.

     I note there are misleading accusations that Police officers advanced the check lines without issuing warnings beforehand and used unnecessary force.  I must clarify that these allegations are totally untrue and unfounded.  In the operation yesterday, Police had issued repeated appeals, advice and warnings at scene to the protestors through making public announcements and displaying warning banners to urge them to leave.  Police also provided sufficient time for the illegal road occupiers who were unlawfully assembling there to leave but they refused to comply.

     I must stress that Police have made it clear on numerous occasions that if any person blocks the re-opened roads, or attempts to block other roads, Police have the responsibility to take resolute action to maintain the public order. Police have the determination and ability to restore public order and protect public safety.
     Regrettably, some people put up excuses that Portland Street is not covered in the Injunction Order in an attempt to detract others from the fact that they were engaged in an unlawful assembly. They used this excuse to call on more people to occupy roads in Mong Kok and to put up strong resistance against Police enforcement actions.  Such acts were totally irresponsible and full of twisted facts. Some radical protestors and troublemakers continued to incite others to charge the police cordon, verbally abuse and physically confront our officers.  Some even threw umbrellas, miscellaneous objects, water bottles and unknown powders at our officers. They blatantly defied the law, disregarded the wish and interests of the general public. These radicals continued to scatter to different areas, blocked sections of roads and disrupted public order.

     These radical individuals and protestors took no heed of the warnings.  They continued to unlawfully assemble, block the roads and charge our officers violently.  With no other alternatives, Police took resolute actions by using the minimum level of force necessary, including the use of pepper spray, pepper based solution and baton, to stop the violent and unlawful acts of these radicals and to disperse and arrest them as well.

     Police reiterate that Injunction Orders are solemn orders issued by the court. Police urge all protestors not to employ illegal means to express their views.  This is unacceptable to the general public.  If anyone attempts to block the re-opened roads or other sections of roads, or to disrupt public order, Police are duty bound to take resolute actions and to exercise our statutory powers to safeguard the public order and public safety.

     Now, the traffic lanes on Argyle Street and Nathan Road are re-opened. If any person plans or attempts to occupy other roads or places, Police will take resolute actions to restore order. If necessary, operations to re-open any blocked roads will continue.

     I reiterate that Police have the determination and capability to strictly enforce the law, so as to restore public order and protect public safety.

Ends/Wednesday, November 26, 2014
Issued at HKT 20:35


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