The Hong Kong police force is getting itself ready – and well-equipped – in dealing with potential riots and violent protests.
The force recently invited bids for 400 tactical suits, but it feels that’s not enough.
It now plans to buy a host of mid-range crowd control equipment, including rubber bullets with a range of 50 meters, Apple Daily reports, citing unnamed sources.
According to the specifications, the bullets can be loaded into Remington shotguns with better accuracy.
Rubber bullets currently used by anti-riot squads have a range of 20 meters and split into five smaller ones when fired.
These bullets are not satisfactory for the end-users because they could hurt innocent people aside from the targets.
Samples from French and US suppliers have been put to test for some time and a final decision has yet to be made.
The rubber bullets will be used by the tactical and emergency units.
Police also plan to buy new shields following their experience during the Mong Kok clashes last year, in which their shields were damaged after bricks were hurled at them by protesters.
The rush to upgrade police anti-riot equipment is believed to be part of preparations for the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to China on July 1.
Police are preparing for any emergency situation, including violent protests, as senior officials from Beijing may visit Hong Kong to join the celebrations on that day.
The police force is also considering buying mid-range AR-15 automatic rifles for its emergency units in the next few months, Ming Pao Daily reported, citing unnamed sources.
The rifles, which are being used only by tactical units, airport police and special duties units, are intended for terrorists and not street protesters, according to one source.
Hong Kong has strengthened its police patrols at train stations, with a counter-terrorism response unit having become a part of the security arrangements in the railway network since late last year.
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