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Opening remarks by Assistant Commissioner of Police at press conference

     Following are the opening remarks by the Assistant Commissioner of Police (Operations), Mr Cheung Tak-keung, at the press conference yesterday (December 11).

     At around 9am on December 11, the plaintiffs and bailiffs executed the Injunction Order on the major carriageways on Connaught Road Central, Harcourt Road and Cotton Tree Drive, and removed four sets of obstacles. The process was generally smooth. Police were on standby in case assistance was required. During the process, the bailiffs did not request the assistance of Police in executing the Injunction Order. The subsequent Police operation to remove obstacles and re-open roads was also carried out smoothly in general.

     Unfortunately, at around 8pm on December 11, a Sergeant felt unwell whilst on duty and collapsed suddenly. He is now being treated at the Intensive Care Unit of Ruttonjee Hospital.

     At around 1.20pm on December 11, Police conducted an on-site media briefing and informed the public that the operation to remove obstacles and re-open roads would commence after 30 minutes and that people within the occupied area were free to leave before this operation began. When the thirty-minute period was over, Police cordoned the occupied area and set up a Police Operational Area at road sections on Harcourt Road, Tim Mei Avenue and Tim Wa Avenue. By that time, illegal occupiers within the cordoned area were required to comply with Police instructions and leave the area through a designated route, that was by way of Tim Mei Avenue towards the Promenade or Lung Wui Road direction. Police had made it clear that protestors would be asked to present their identity cards for recording their personal particulars and details before they left the area and that Police might pursue criminal liability against them later. After that, Police removed obstacles from the relevant carriageways and pavements, and take actions to disperse or arrest those who refused to leave the area. If anyone put up resistance, Police would have no alternative but to use the minimum and proportional level of force to achieve the lawful purpose. Police urged the illegal road occupiers again to take away their personal belongings and leave the area in a peaceful and orderly manner.

     After providing sufficient time for the illegal occupiers to leave the areas on their own, Police cordoned the area at about 2.20pm on December 11 and started to remove the obstacles and re-open roads at Admiralty and Central areas. About two hours later, Police removed 21 sets of obstacles from the areas. During the process, most of the illegal occupiers did not resort to violence or provocation to resist or obstruct Police enforcement actions. They complied with Police instructions by presenting their identity cards for recording before leaving. A total of 909 people were allowed to leave the area after Police had recorded their personal particulars. Police may pursue criminal liability against them later.

     Regrettably, the remaining illegal occupiers refused to leave. Despite numerous Police advice and warnings, they behaved in an uncooperative manner. At about 4.25pm on December 11, Police started arresting those who continued to engage in the unlawful assembly so as to re-open the roads. Police arrested 209 people, including 131 males 78 females, for the offences of .Unlawful Assembly・ and .Obstructing Police in Execution of Duty・. Police also seized dozens of packs of baking powder, 13 wooden shields, six metal shields and one plastic shield in the occupied areas.

     Furthermore, between December 10 night and December 11 afternoon, Police arrested four males, aged between 26 and 35, at different locations for the offences of .Taking Part in Unauthorised Assembly・, .Inciting Others to Take Part in Unauthorised Assembly・ and .Organising an Unauthorised Assembly・.

     Throughout the operation on December 11, Police have been professional and restrained and maintained a high degree of transparency by disseminating relevant information to the public through various channels, including the issue of press statements, arrangement of press conference and on-site briefings on the forthcoming Police actions. In addition, at the request of the Independent Police Complaints Council, Police facilitated the chairman and members of the council to observe the obstacles removal and roads re-opening operation at scene in order to enhance their understanding of Police operation.

     At present, miscellaneous items and rubbish on Connaught Road Central, Harcourt Road, Tim Wa Avenue, Tim Mei Avenue, Gloucester Road and Cotton Tree Drive have already been removed. Some of the carriageways have already been re-opened. I believe this is what the general public have longed for and are happy to see.

     As for the illegally occupied road sections in Causeway Bay, Police will remove the obstacles and re-open the relevant roads at an appropriate time. Police urge members of the public not to gather or linger at the illegally occupied area in Causeway Bay and to stay away from radicals and troublemakers. Do not be incited to commit any illegal acts. Police have been demonstrating utmost restraints and tolerance to deal with the illegal occupation professionally as we do not want to see anyone getting injured during large-scale confrontations, no matter they are protestors, students in particular, the general public or Police officers.

     I need to point out that although roads at Admiralty and Central have already been partially re-opened, past experience indicated that some radicals and troublemakers might scatter to different areas and create chaos in an attempt to block the roads again. I stress that Police are duty bound to maintain public peace and to protect public order and public safety. Police will take resolute actions against anyone who disrupts public order by blocking other roads or roads that have been re-opened. Police have stepped up patrol at relevant locations and will take strict enforcement actions against anyone who plans or attempts to re-occupy other roads or places.

     Police have all along been maintaining political neutrality. We will continue to carry out our statutory duties to protect public safety, maintain public order and prevent injury to life and property in a fair and impartial manner. Effective Police enforcement actions are dependent on public co-operation and support. We are very grateful for the support of various sectors of the society towards our operation to remove obstacles and to re-open the roads. I hope that members of the public would continue to support our professional enforcement actions. I trust that you would agree with me that the cooperation between Police and the public are vital in supporting and maintaining our proud tradition of the rule of law and good law and order. I hope that members of the public will abide by the law when expressing their views. If public peace and public order are jeopardised, Police will take resolute action to protect public safety and public order.

Ends/Friday, December 12, 2014
Issued at HKT 00:41


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