Regina Ip, chairwoman of the New People’s Party, has defended the way police dealt with pro-democracy protesters in the street clearance operation in Mong Kok this week.
“It’s impossible for the police to do their job if they were too gentle,” Ip said, adding that some minor injuries are “unavoidable” during the operation.
Police officers had been very “effective” in clearing the protest site in Mong Kok, and their action has been applauded by many citizens, Ip said, according to RTHK.
The officers had to ensure that the area is not retaken by the protesters, she was quoted as saying.
Demonstrators have alleged that police officers abused their power and made unnecessary arrests during the clearance operation. Among those arrested were even two members of the press who were covering the protests.
Wong Chun-lung, an Apple Daily journalist was arrested on the charge of assaulting a police officer. His colleague Lam Po-yik, a cameraman, was detained on the suspicion that he was trying to snatch a police officer’s gun.
Some officers said the “curious audience”, such as reporters, who were at the scene had made their task more difficult, according to Ip.
In particular, cameramen are the most aggressive ones, and in some cases it’s difficult for police officers to determine whether the people were doing their reporting duties or participating in the assaults on police officers, she said.
“It’s inappropriate for police to hit innocent people, but they have been under so much pressure for the last two months. They have already shown great degree of restraint and tolerance,” Ip said.
“Even after clearing the Mong Kok protest site, they had to lock down the area to consolidate. So the atmosphere is tense and there is room for misunderstanding,” Ip said.
She hopes the public and media will recognize this aspect and do not accuse the police of high-handedness.
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