After the brutal police crackdown on anti-extradition law protesters on June 12, the Hong Kong Professional Teachers’ Union (HKPTU) called on teachers and students in schools across the city to boycott classes for the remaining days of last week.
I had lot of respect for the police force over the years, until I saw with my own eyes the incidents that took place on the afternoon of June 12 — riot police were beating the living daylights out of peaceful protesters indiscriminately.
Worse still, it was probably the first time ever that the local police officers fired rubber bullets at protesters.
Among those injured was one of my fellow HKPTU teachers, as well as a driver of a media van who was at one point in critical condition.
Were these people really the “rioters” to whom the government was referring?
Apart from their approach to dealing with protesters, what has also changed drastically is the attitude of the police officers toward some lawmakers.
Last Wednesday night, I, along with my Legco colleagues Fernando Cheung Chiu-hung and Charles Mok Nai-gwong, were at Queensway trying to mediate between the police and protesters.
Unfortunately, not only did the police officer in charge at the scene refuse to communicate with us and just walk off, but soon after, much to our surprise, the police suddenly charged at the crowd without warning, and everybody, including us, had to run for cover.
What happened that night sent a chill down my spine.
Why on earth did the police reject our request for dialogue and then charge at the protesters without any warning? Why couldn’t they just let the crowd disperse peacefully without using force?
How can the police improve their public image if they acting so brutally?
On that night, all of a sudden, it seemed to me that Hong Kong was no longer the city that I used to know.
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on June 14
Translation by Alan Lee
[Chinese version 中文版]
– Contact us at [email protected]