Police announce the force's initiative to launch anti-violence hotlines, 5566 9500 to 9509, at the Tuesday news conference, with the screen saying "No time to lose in ending violence". (PHOTO / CHINA DAILY)
The Hong Kong Police Force set up 10 WhatsApp anti-violence hotlines on Tuesday for citizens to report violent incidents that require urgent attention.
The police aim to elicit public efforts to combat social disorder and riots. It is also another measure by which the police are appealing to the public to “cut ties” with violence.
The police aim to elicit public efforts to combat social disorder and riots
The purpose of the WhatsApp hotlines is providing an additional channel for ordinary citizens to report emergencies as the current violence in the city is uncertain and unpredictable, said Chan Chi-ying, senior superintendent of the Business Services Bureau. The newly created hotlines aim to be a more-effective way for case-reporting than traditional measures, Chan said.
Meanwhile, for operational efficiency, the police have - after serious consideration - approved having its officers carry police batons while off-duty. This enables police officers to enforce the law on time and ensure their own safety .
The move follows the stabbing of an off-duty officer by three masked men in Kwai Chung on Aug 31. Riotous mobs are resorting to intense, more-dangerous and sometimes deadly violence, damaging the city’s core transportation facilities such as MTR stations and Hong Kong International Airport.
“Maintaining law and order and public safety is exactly our objective,” said Wong Wai-shun, senior superintendent of the Operations Bureau. The new measure is for the purpose of executing such duties, he said.
Wong also allayed concerns regarding the potential excessive use of force by police. Only when off-duty police officers spot lawbreaking or crime-committing acts will they use appropriate force to contain the situation, Wong said.
According to the Police Force Ordinance, every police officer should be deemed to be always on duty and should perform the duties and exercise the powers invested in them by the Police Force Ordinance or any other law at any and every place in Hong Kong.
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