A radical protester kicks a smart lamppost that was pulled down in Hong Kong on Aug 24, 2019. (PHOTO / CHINA DAILY)
The Hong Kong Police Force has objected to a rally planned for Saturday due to concern that rioters would “hijack” yet another mass demonstration as the city begins its 13th weekend of mass protests against a now-suspended extradition bill.
The escalation of both “intensity and extensity” of violent acts, especially over the past few weeks, has marked the special administrative region as some radical and violent protesters have taken advantage of recent public events, said Kwok Pak-chung, regional police commander of Hong Kong Island. They have vandalized public property and brutally attacked police officers with lethal weapons, Kwok said.
To ensure public safety and order and to protect the freedom of other citizens, police had no choice but to ban the proposed march
Kwok Pak-chung, Regional police commander of Hong Kong Island, Hong Kong Police Force
To ensure public safety and order and to protect the freedom of other citizens, police had no choice but to ban the proposed march, he said.
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The proposed date, Aug 31, marks the fifth anniversary of the “831 Decision” on Hong Kong’s electoral reforms, in which the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress provided an election framework for Hong Kong to elect its chief executive by “one man, one vote”. However, the plan was vetoed by the opposition camp in the Legislative Council.
Over the past two months, what began as peaceful demonstrations and assembly has more than once descended to violent clashes across various districts of the city, Kwok said.
“From our past experience, these radical protesters have indeed turned extreme ideas into reality,” added Kwok, who believed that there is a very high chance that they would “hijack” this proposed public event on Saturday.
“The potential danger would be a grave concern and a great threat to public safety,” the police commander added. He urged the public to “refrain” from unlawful and violent acts — as those who disregard the objection may be imprisoned for up to five years.
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According to SAR law, it is possible for a peaceful participant of a public assembly or procession to be convicted of an offense simply because the organizers failed to comply with the notification requirement, and those convicted could receive a prison sentence of up to five years.
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