Representatives of four police force associations said they are now confident of the government’s support in the performance of their law enforcement duties.
The remarks came after Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, accompanied by Police Commissioner Stephen Lo Wai-chung, held a meeting on Tuesday morning with the representatives, who sought clarification from Cheung over his “apology” in the police handling of the Yuen Long attacks, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
On the night of July 21, scores were injured when white-clad men armed with sticks and pipes attacked protesters and ordinary commuters and passers-by at the Yuen Long MTR Station. Police arrived more than half an hour later when the attackers had fled.
Cheung was earlier quoted as saying in a media conference that the handling by the police of the incident had “fallen short of people’s expectations” and that he was willing to apologize to the citizens forthe handling of this incident.
Many in the police force were dismayed by Cheung’s remarks, believing that he was apologizing on behalf of the police.
The representatives in Tuesday’s meeting included Police Superintendents’ Association chairman Chan Man-tak, Hong Kong Police Inspectors’ Association chairman Wu Wai-kee, Junior Police Officers’ Association chairman Lam Chi-wai and a representative from the Overseas Inspectors’ Association.
The police associations wanted Cheung to clarify his remarks regarding the apology he made last Friday.
Chan told media after the meeting that they only wanted to exchange candid views with the chief secretary, adding that they now understand what Cheung meant when he made his remarks last Friday.
They said the response they received was positive.
Chan quoted Cheung as saying that he understands the hard work that the police are doing and he is supportive of them.
The associations are satisfied with Cheung’s explanation, Chan said, adding that the government and the force are united.
They also believe that restoring social order should come before mending relationships between police and the general public.
Asked whether his remark that the government and the police were united meant the police would apologize to the public, Lam said the police force has “absolutely not” apologized to the public over its handling of the Yuen Long incident.
In response to media inquiries, the Chief Secretary for Administration’s Office said Cheung reiterated in the meeting that “he gave his full support and recognition to the enforcement actions taken by the police officers”.
“Despite tremendous pressure faced by police officers in such difficult time, Mr. Cheung paid warm tribute to the police force and expressed heartfelt appreciation for their dedication in fulfilling duties without fear, demonstration of professionalism in maintaining law and order in Hong Kong, and protecting the lives and properties of Hong Kong people,” the office said.
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