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Transcript of remarks by S for S

     Following is the transcript of remarks (the opening remarks are an English translation) by the Secretary for Security, Mr Lai Tung-kwok, at a media session today (March 9):

Secretary for Security: I believe we all learnt from yesterday's TV news and today's newspapers that the so-called "anti-parallel trading" protest, including the act of humiliating and kicking pedestrians, searching their personal belongings, obstructing the bus operation, etc, was indeed abusing the freedom of expression and had gone beyond the bottom line of the law. The Government strongly condemns the violent acts by the protesters who disrupted the social order. The Police will actively and comprehensively pursue those responsible in accordance with the law.

     Since yesterday afternoon, a number of people, who responded to the appeal made on the Internet, gathered in Sheung Shui, Tuen Mun and Tsim Sha Tsui, and hurled abuse at passers-by. Some radical protesters kept verbally abusing, harassing and surrounding pedestrians and shoppers on the streets, at shopping malls and at shops. Their riotous behaviour not only caused nuisance to local citizens and shoppers, but also disrupted the social order and jeopardised public safety.

     The protesters kept humiliating, harassing, surrounding and even assaulting the pedestrians. A mother with her young daughter was scolded and circled by a group of protesters. The scared little girl had burst into tears. They had to be escorted by some passers-by to leave the scene. Some protesters kicked the belongings of other people. In the evening, the protesters even moved the barriers of a bus stop to interfere with the bus operation.

     The Police have so far arrested five men and one woman, including secondary school and university students, who were suspected of assaulting police officers and obstructing police officers in the execution of their duties. One police officer and one person were injured in the incident. The Police will continue their investigation in a serious manner and deal with it in accordance with the law. The Police do not rule out the possibility of further arrests. I urge those who witnessed the incident to come forward and offer their information to the Police.

     The Government respects the public's freedom of expression, speech and assembly in accordance with the law. We are always proud that public order events have all along been conducted in a lawful and peaceful manner. We do not want this good expression of opinion, which is widely accepted by the community, to be destroyed. The Police have the responsibility to ensure public safety and public order.

     It has come to my attention that some online comments have called for further actions during the Government House open day this Sunday (March 15). I reiterated that the Police would take appropriate and resolute actions to safeguard public safety and maintain law and order.

Reporter: What is your response to the protest actions yesterday? Do you think parallel trading is a problem that needs to be resolved and do you have any recommendations?

Secretary for Security: The action taken by the protesters yesterday is totally unacceptable. It has caused nuisance - not only nuisance, it broke the law. The Police have taken resolute actions to maintain law and order and have arrested six persons. They (the protesters) claimed the purpose is to protest against parallel traders. This is a problem that we all understand what it is and the Government is taking actions and making recommendations to the relevant Mainland authorities.

Reporter: Are there any further actions from the Police? Are there any follow-up actions by the Police? Will the Police make further arrest?

Secretary for Security: The Police are still investigating the incident. If there are further evidences, the Police will take action as what I have said earlier in my opening statement.

(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)

Ends/Monday, March 9, 2015
Issued at HKT 20:14


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