17 October 2019
Cheng Yiu-tong (inset) says police were absolutely right to use tear gas against Occupy protesters. Photos: CNSA, HKEJ
Cheng Yiu-tong (inset) says police were absolutely right to use tear gas against Occupy protesters. Photos: CNSA, HKEJ

Exco member Cheng Yiu-tong again defends police use of tear gas

Executive councilor Cheng Yiu-tong said the use of tear gas by police on September 28, the first day of the Occupy movement, was totally justified, as it was the only way police could disperse the crowd of protesters, Apple Daily reported Friday.

In an interview with Cable TV broadcast Thursday, Cheng had a question for those who criticized the police for shooting 87 canisters of tear gas into the crowd that day.

“The policemen did not try to kill anyone, did they?” said Cheng, who is also honorary president of the Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions and a Hong Kong delegate to the National People’s Congress.

Tear gas was one of few options left to police at the time, he said, and the decision to use it was absolutely not wrong, since it was only aimed at dispersing the crowd.

Responding to Cheng’s remarks, Tommy Cheung, a member of the Hong Kong Federation of Students (HKFS) standing committee, said they were illogical and absurd, because the definition of excessive force should not be limited only to actions that cause death.

Cheng, commenting on President Xi Jinping’s praising of Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying for keeping Hong Kong stable, said Leung has further fortified his position as a leader in the post-Occupy era.

Beijing trusts Leung more now, after he displayed an unwavering stance in line with its way of thinking, Cheng said.

He said Beijing thinks Leung is trustworthy, as he knows what to do without instructions from the top.

Beijing will not care if its political reform proposal is vetoed by the Hong Kong legislature, Cheng said. He expects the second round of consultations on the plan to be tightened up.

Cheng called the non-cooperation movement launched by the HKFS brainless.

The new campaign, which includes a call for citizens to pay tax by installments, will not put any pressure on the government but only burden civil servants instead, he said.

Cheng said he did not expect citizens to respond positively to the group’s call.

Meanwhile, Cheung warned that Beijing’s continuing support for Leung’s rule of Hong Kong with no concern for citizens’ opinions will only worsen the city’s internal contradictions.

He warned that Beijing should prepare for an ungovernable situation.

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