Andy Tsang Wai-hung, Hong
Kong’s former police chief, said
the city “urgently” needs a national
security law to take on the city’s
violence, which he said is verging
on “terrorism in nature”.
“The legislation is absolutely necessary to get Hong Kong back on track,” Tsang told China Daily in an exclusive interview.
Comparing what happened during last year’s prolonged social unrest in Hong Kong with the “Occupy Central” illegal protests in 2014, Tsang, the police commissioner at the time, said the most worrying development now is the escalation of violence
Comparing what happened during last year’s prolonged social unrest in Hong Kong with the “Occupy Central” illegal protests in 2014, Tsang, the police commissioner at the time, said the most worrying development now is the escalation of violence.
The mass protests in 2014 paralyzed the traffic of the city’s central business districts for nearly three months. Since June 2019, citywide violence and vandalism by radical anti-government protesters have rocked Hong Kong.
Six years ago, protesters clashed with police using only umbrellas and self-made shields, but last year, rioters set fi res on streets, hurled gasoline bombs and threw corrosive liquids at police officers, and even attacked residents who held opposing political views, Tsang said.
In October, a police officer was slashed in the neck by a radical protester with a cutter. The city’s police also have seized explosive chemicals and homemade bombs several times in recent months.
On March 8, police seized 2.6 metric tons of chemicals from a unit of a commercial building in Tai Kok Tsui. In another unit of the same building, police also seized three half-fi nished bombs, each containing 1.5 kilograms of explosives. On Feb 2, a cleaner spotted a plastic bag with wires inside under a seat on a train at a platform of the Lo Wu railway station, a busy terminal on the East Rail Line.
Police bomb disposal officers were called to the site, and one of the devices was defused after the station was closed; the other device caught fire and spewed white smoke.
Concerned that the weapons used by rioters were a safety threat to both police officers and innocent residents, Tsang said, “Imagine the casualties and fatalities that would be caused if a bomb was set off in public infrastructure, a police station or elsewhere.
“The extreme violence is edging toward terrorism in nature,” Tsang said. In the recently published report by the city’s police watchdog, the Independent Police Complaints Council, it also took note of the “incipient terrorism” shown in the often-violent protest. The report, published in mid-May, warned that the violence is dragging the city into “an era of terrorism”.
Tsang said it seemed to him that the US police are more prepared to use force, and Hong Kong police are restrained
Therefore, the central government’s move to enact the national security law for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region is necessary because it can plug the city’s legal loophole as well as get Hong Kong back on track, Tsang said.
To quell the violence In late May, the National People’s Congress, China’s top legislature, adopted a draft decision on national security legislation for the city.
Tsang, who is also deputy director of the National Narcotics Control Commission of the Ministry of Public Security, said he believes the proposed law won’t undermine the “one country, two systems” principle, but the violence will and has already jeopardized the city’s stability and prosperity.
“We must put a stop to the violence,” Tsang said. As the former police chief, Tsang said he thinks the claims on the Hong Kong police’s brutality are unfair and unfounded.
Seeing violent protests recently also broke out in the United States, Tsang said it seemed to him that the US police are more prepared to use force, and Hong Kong police are restrained, as no rioters were killed during Hong Kong’s year of social unrest.
In the United States, protests first erupted in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in late May, sparked by the death of George Floyd, an African American man who was allegedly choked to death by a white police officer who forced his knee on the neck of Floyd, who was handcuffed on the ground.
Protests soon turned violent and then spread to other places of the country. A protester on Monday was shot and killed by police in Louisville, Kentucky.
“The Hong Kong Police Force may not be perfect in every aspect, but they did a good job amid the city’s chaos,” Tsang said.
He also called the IPCC’s report on the prolonged street violence “fair”. The 1,000-page report about the investigation of police operations during last year’s social unrest said that the use of force was necessary and a justifi ed response to the violence used by radical protesters.
The IPCC also put forward 52 recommendations for the police in the report. Tsang said it was sad to see some police officers and their family members last year being cyberbullied and even some have their kids unfairly treated at school.
He said he hopes the new law will quell the violence in Hong Kong and let the city torn apart by political turmoil move on.
Copyright 1995 - 2024. All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily. Without written authorization from China Daily, such content shall not be republished or used in any form.
HONG KONG NEWS