Ex-HK police commander returns to deal with unrest

By By Yang Sheng in Hong Kong, Fan Lingzhi and Zhang Hui in Beijing Source:Global Times Published: 2019/8/9 12:40:52

Dozens of Hong Kong residents gather to support the police at the Hong Kong Police Headquarters in Wan Chai on Friday. Photo: Yang Sheng/GT

 Former deputy commissioner of the Hong Kong police Lau Yip-shing, who handled the Occupy Central Movement in 2014, returned to the police department Friday from retirement to help deal with the ongoing unrest. 

Lau is likely to be the highest-ranking commander for the operation codenamed "Tiderider," initiated in mid-June to target protests and unrest triggered by the proposed extradition bill, Chan Cho-kwong, chairman of the Hong Kong Junior Police Officers Association, told the Global Times. 

According to the government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Lau was appointed to the temporary post of Deputy Commissioner of Police (Special Duty) on Friday. The main duties of this post are to assist the Commissioner of Police in handling large-scale, public order events and steering forthcoming major operations, including the celebratory activities surrounding the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China.

"Special Duty" refers to a designated position, which was previously below the rank of Chief Superintendent. The position at the Chief Superintendent level is unprecedented, Chan said.

Lau joined the Hong Kong police force in 1984, and previously served at Hong Kong International Airport in its security service before becoming the Deputy Commissioner of Police (Operations) in 2016. 

According to Hong Kong media, Lau was also involved in dealing with the riots in Mong Kok during the 2014 Occupy Central Movement. 

As protests against the proposed extradition bill turned into a series of riots targeting the Hong Kong government, more and more Hong Kong residents stood up to denounce violence and voice their support for the police. 

Hong Kong residents organized various campaigns to support police, including rallies and writing "thank you" letters. In a recent example, almost 100 Hong Kong residents staged a gathering at the Hong Kong Police Headquarters in Wan Chai on Friday. 

The organizer, surnamed Wong, told the Global Times that they purchased large quantities of convenient foods such as cup noodles, energy bars, herbal tea drinks and biscuits, so that police officers who often work overtime could have something to eat. 

During their gathering, they presented police with the original copy of a widely circulated cartoon featuring a Hong Kong police officer who raised his gun to protect himself and his colleagues after being besieged by rioters who attacked them with umbrellas, alpenstocks and bricks on July 30. 

The cartoon shows the officer's back as he stands alone to face many protesters, and above the image it reads, "Kid, please believe in your father. He is the real hero!" The author of the cartoon, a netizen from the Chinese mainland, was unable to attend the gathering. 

A Hong Kong resident (center) holds the widely circulated cartoon featuring a Hong Kong police officer's back as he stands alone against protesters. Photo: Yang Sheng/GT

The officer won fans in both Hong Kong and the mainland, after the video of him being besieged and beaten went viral. 

Hong Kong residents on Friday also wrote a "thank you" letter to police, in which they referred to the Hong Kong police as a "savior, Marvel hero and the last hope of residents who wish for the return of social stability."



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