Date
20 October 2017
South Korean activist Kim B (inset) suffered temporary loss of sight in the left eye after police dispersed a protest rally with water cannons in 2008. 
Photos: Reuters, Amnesty International
South Korean activist Kim B (inset) suffered temporary loss of sight in the left eye after police dispersed a protest rally with water cannons in 2008. Photos: Reuters, Amnesty International

Police urged to disclose specifications of water cannons

Democratic Party legislator James To Kun-sun has asked the police department to disclose details about the water cannon vehicles it intends to buy for crowd control, noting that studies have shown that their use could result in serious injuries. 

To said he does not completely oppose the purchase of water cannons, but the police department’s refusal to disclose their specifications and rules of use is not acceptable, Apple Daily reported on Friday.

The government is seeking funding approval from the Legislative Council for the purchase of three anti-riot vehicles equipped with water cannons, estimated to cost HK$27 million (US$3.48 million).

To said if an ordinary consumer wants to know the specifications of a mobile phone before deciding to buy it, all the more is it important for Legco to know such details before deciding whether to approve the purchase of the water cannons.

Icarus Wong Ho-yin of the Civil Human Rights Front said water cannons could damage important video clips shot by media, posing a direct threat to freedom of the press.

There have been numerous cases reported in various countries where the use of water cannons has resulted in injuries to people.

In 2008, during a protest march in South Korea, a 17-year-old girl suffered a ruptured eardrum when police fired a water cannon from 15-20 meters and hit her in the right ear. She lost her hearing for two weeks, according to documents compiled by Amnesty International.

In another protest rally that year, a 35-year-old man was shot in the face with a water cannon about 5-6 meters away. The impact threw him several meters and caused severe bleeding in his mouth. He also suffered from temporary loss of sight in the left eye, the report said.

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TL/AC/CG

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