The police force is poised to launch a new evidence gathering team to beef up its resources during demonstrations, Apple Daily reported Monday.
Sources close to police suggested the move is to strengthen the force’s ability to monitor protesters.
An office of the rank of inspector could order the team to capture close-up portrait images of or even arrest any members of the public deemed to have violated the law.
At the moment, only officers at chief superintendent rank or above may issue such instructions.
Under existing regulations, video recording of public events can only be ordered by a chief superintendent of police, and footage can be used only in an investigation or as evidence in court.
Footage that cannot be used in such a way must be destroyed after 31 days.
Sources said the force is simply delegating the right to collect evidence via video recording and that it will help boost the efficiency of law enforcement.
However, the force will have to revise its internal guidelines for the new policy to take effect.
Au Nok-Hin of the Civil Human Rights Front said the proposal is a blatant attempt to legalize the suppression of demonstrations.
Au said that in the past, many cases against protesters were dismissed because of a lack of evidence. The new policy is targeted at filling that gap.
A police representative said an assessment will be made before a decision to video record any public event is made.
– Contact us at [email protected]