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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 28).

    On this Tuesday and Wednesday, Police assisted bailiffs in the execution of Injunction Orders on Argyle Street and Nathan Road, Mong Kok and exercised other legal powers conferred by the law to remove obstacles blocking the public thoroughfares. Argyle Street, south and north bounds of Nathan Road and other roads in the proximity are now re-opened.

    Although the roads in Mong Kok have been re-opened, there were still radicals and troublemakers gathering and loitering in the area in the past few nights. These people provoked others and created chaos in an attempt to block the roads again. Police urge members of the public not to go to Mong Kok to gather and linger there.  They should stay away from these radical individuals and troublemakers, and should not take part or be incited to take part in any illegal acts. When Police officers are executing their duties, members of the public are advised not to gather around as onlookers and should maintain a safe distance from Police officers. Police do not want to see anyone, especially students, being hurt when they place themselves among the violent acts of radical individuals and troublemakers.

    Because of the illegal acts of those who unlawfully assembled in Mong Kok, shops in the area were forced to close their business and members of the public had to use indirect routes, causing huge inconvenience. The behaviours of these radicals have seriously disturbed the local residents and totally disregarded the public interest. These radical protesters need to realise that the roads in Mong Kok do not belong solely to any particular group of people, they are public thoroughfares for the whole community. I urge protesters not to block the roads again for the benefits of the community.

     In the past two nights, there were protesters with radicals and troublemakers mixing among them. They gathered along Sai Yueng Choi Street South, Shan Tung Street and Soy Street and blocked nearby roads. Police had issued multiple advice and warnings through public announcements and display of warning banners, urging them to leave but they refused to comply. They continued to loiter around the area, blocking the roads and creating chaos. They put up excuses that they were just gathering there for shopping and watching television together, picking up dropped coins and waiting for someone else, etc. Some radicals deliberately merged themselves into the crowd and incited others to verbally abuse and provoke Police officers, to charge Police line and to obstruct Police enforcement actions. To prevent the situation from worsening, with no other alternatives, Police took resolute actions to disperse those who unlawfully assembled thereat. Because of the chaotic situation and the deliberate acts of some people to disrupt public peace, frontline officers at scene were confronted with a lot of difficulties when carrying out their duties. Some people thought that what they did could exhaust Police manpower and provoke our officers, however how could such irresponsible acts be of benefits to Hong Kong as a whole?

     At around 10.30am this morning, Police intercepted five persons, including four males and one female, aged between 14 and 24, at the junction of Argyle Street and Nathan Road, Mong Kok. Police seized eleven lighters, a bottle of petroleum and a cutter on them and in two rucksacks they were carrying. They were arrested for the offences of .possession of offensive weapons・ and .possession of instrument fit for unlawful purpose・. Mong Kok District Investigation Team is now looking into the case.

     Furthermore, I noticed that some radicals called for mass gathering in Mong Kok tonight on the Internet to block the roads again and to commit further radical acts. This will undoubtedly cause unnecessary and even unreasonable adverse impacts on the Mong Kok residents. Police are sceptical of the true intentions of these radicals who disregarded the interests of the general public but are stubborn on their own way of resistance. These people constantly resort to illegal means in expressing their views, for this the community will neither accept nor agree with their behaviours.

     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 by exercising the legal power conferred by the law, in order to maintain public order. Police would take resolute actions against anyone who commits illegal acts, and including unlawful acts committed in the cyber world.

     I also note that certain student organisations called upon members of the public to bring along different supplies, such as umbrellas, goggles and helmets, to gather at the illegally occupied area in Admiralty on the coming Sunday, and proclaimed to escalate their actions at that time. I must stress that the gathering in Admiralty is an unlawful assembly and the occupation and blockage of roads are illegal. The acts of these illegal road occupiers have disrupted public order and seriously undermined the rule of law in Hong Kong. Sadly, these organisations continued to foment members of the public to commit illegal acts and the general public would not accept these acts. I urge the illegal road occupiers to stop their illegal acts and to leave the occupied roads at once.

     Police are highly concerned of a Police officer suspected to be involved in an incident of unnecessary use of force. Police have initiated follow up actions and the officer concerned has been removed from the current operation. I stress that there are stringent guidelines governing the use of force and Police will handle the case in a serious manner. I take the opportunity here to appeal to the persons concerned to come forth and provide information to Police to assist in the investigation. Police will definitely handle the case in a fair and impartial manner.

     Regarding the arrest of a press photographer, Police stress that we will take enforcement actions in a fair and impartial manner regardless of the background or profession of the persons involved in the illegal acts.

     Police have all along respected the freedom of the press. You can see that the situation at scene is often very chaotic. There are a lot of people holding mobile phones, cameras or small size camcorders, recording the scene in between the crowds. Some individuals even behave in a provocative manner in an attempt to obstruct Police. Police understand that it is the duty of the press to make news coverage at scene and we endeavour to facilitate the press in carrying out their duty. The Deputy Commissioner of Police (Operations) and myself met with the management of major media organisations this afternoon to reassure them of our policy of respecting the freedom of the press. We also explained the operational difficulties faced by frontline officers in the midst of chaos at scene and we appealed for mutual understanding and mutual respect. Police officers will endeavour to facilitate the works of media as much as possible. Police would continue to deploy our Media Liaison Teams at scene to provide coordination and mediation. At the same time, Police also appeal for the co-operation of frontline reporters to wear easily identifiable clothing to identity themselves, to heed Police officers・ direction at scene and avoid obstructing Police operation.

     In addition, Police are aware that some radicals have threatened to harm Police officers and their family on the Internet, some have incited others to block Government premises. I must point out that it is against the law to incite others to commit illegal acts on the Internet. The rule of law is the cornerstone of Hong Kong・s success and all citizens should abide by the law. Regardless of whether it is in the real world or through online social media, any persons who commits illegal acts have to bear criminal liability and will be brought to justice. Police will collect evidence and to effect arrest when necessary.

     Lastly, I need to point out that although the roads in Mong Kok have been re-opened, Mong Kok still remains a high-risk area as there have been a lot of radicals gathering there in the past few nights. These radicals behaved provocatively in an attempt to block the roads again. Confrontations can be sparked off at any moment. Police urge members of the public, particularly students, to avoid going to the area at night in order to avoid unnecessary injuries. Citizens should also stay away from radicals and troublemakers and not to be used or incited to commit illegal acts. Residents and business operators nearby shall be vigilant of their personal safety and prevent themselves from getting injured.

     Police have deployed appropriate manpower in Mong Kok to maintain public order and prevent blocking of roads that have been re-opened or other sections of roads. Police are duty bound, and have the determination and the capability to maintain public order and protect public safety through exercising the legal powers conferred by the laws of Hong Kong. Should anyone resort to violence or illegal acts to disrupt public order, Police will take resolute enforcement actions.

Ends/Friday, November 28, 2014
Issued at HKT 20:06


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