Police test water cannon 'crowd management vehicles'

July 31, 2019 17:32
Hong Kong authorities are preparing to deploy water cannon-equipped vehicles to rein in street protesters who often face off with the police. Photo: HK Police/Facebook video screenshot

Police have begun road tests for specialized crowd management vehicles equipped with water cannons, with the move assuming added significance amid the ongoing spate of anti-government demonstrations in the city.

The tests started with at least one vehicle running in circles at the Police Tactical Unit (PTU) headquarters in Fanling on Tuesday morning before it was seen heading to Castle Peak Road.

It did not spray water while on the streets yesterday.

According to police, the vehicles will be ready for duty once the tests are through.

In a video clip posted on social media, police said only officers from the PTU headquarters are allowed to operate the water cannon vehicles.

There have been rumors that the police could mix the water with liquid dye in order to allow officers to identify protesters after they are dispersed, RTHK noted.

The police have refused to comment on the speculation, but said officers have completed specialized training in use of the "crowd management vehicles".

In 2015, the government sought funding approval from the Legislative Council for purchase of three anti-riot vehicles equipped with water cannons, which were estimated to cost HK$27 million in total.

According to media reports, the water cannon vehicles arrived in Hong Kong last year.

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