HK rioters assault police, shock public

By Yang Sheng Source:Global Times Published: 2019/7/15 23:03:40

PLA garrison could reinforce Hong Kong police based on law: expert

A policeman is attacked by protesters inside a mall in Sha Tin District in Hong Kong Special Administrative Region on Sunday. Hong Kong Police Commissioner Stephen Lo Wai-chung strongly condemned the violence, vowing to track down those responsible for the clashes and hold them accountable. Photo: AP

 A photo showing a bloodied police officer with a broken finger has shocked the residents of Hong Kong as well as web users across the mainland on Monday, as the endless violence in the city has made the public increasingly angry and worried.

Despite a declaration on July 8 from Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor that "the bill is dead," radical protesters who oppose the extradition amendment bill refuse to stop their violent activities on policemen and ordinary citizens conducting business between the mainland and Hong Kong. 

This situation makes more and more Hong Kong residents and observers believe that their real purpose has nothing to do with the bill or democracy and human rights. What they want to do is to further disturb the social order and paralyze the rule of law in Hong Kong, to kill "one country, two systems."

A report of Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post (SCMP) said the city's police commissioner, Stephen Lo Wai-chung, strongly condemned the violence in Hong Kong's northern town of Sha Tin on Sunday night.

On Monday morning, the Hospital Authority said a total of 28 people were injured after Sunday night's clashes between police and protesters in Sha Tin, with 22 admitted to hospital, of whom two were in critical condition, while four were serious and 14 were stable, the SCMP reported.

Victor Chan Chi-ho, 33, vice chairman of the Hong Kong Association of Young Commentators, told the Global Times that when he saw a policeman being attacked by dozens of violent and crazy protesters, he also felt worried about his own safety, and angrily said that "I want to question those people who said the protest is peaceful and civilized: Are you blind?"

Video shown by Hong Kong TV stations and spread on social media showed that policemen were attacked by protesters wearing black shirts and masks using umbrellas, iron sticks and pliers. They specifically targeted the police who walked alone.

There is no denying that a series of protests using the anti-extradition bill as an excuse are getting out of control, Chan said. "Most residents of the city are getting sick of these incidents. The HKSAR government has to take a stricter and more serious approach to protect the interests of society."

Hong Kong police are collecting evidence from the LegCo Complex of Hong Kong which was stormed and ransacked by violent protesters on July 1. Photo: Chen Qingqing and Yang Sheng/GT

Why they don't stop 

After the chief executive declared the bill "dead," protesters and opposition groups remained unsatisfied, and are using new excuses to incite people to join them, Cheung Yuen Sum, convener of the Commentator Group on IDEA4HK, a Hong Kong-based think tank, told the Global Times. 

"For instance, now they are urging the officials who pushed the bill to resign, urging a pardon for violent protesters arrested by the police, demanding a total withdrawal of the extradition bill, establishing an independent investigation group to probe the police on abuse on violent protesters, and urging the government to forbid mainland tourists entering Hong Kong," Cheung said.

In general, the excuses being used by the opposition groups or radical protesters are beginning to lose focus, said Tian Feilong, an associate professor and a Hong Kong studies expert at Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

"Their endless riots have proved that they are not focusing on specific issues, and that they don't care about democracy or human rights at all. It seems like they just want to use violence to force the country to make a tough decision, such as sending the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Hong Kong Garrison to reinforce Hong Kong police, since they believe this can embarrass the country before the international community and ruin people's confidence in the city's future," Tian noted.

Safeguard HK 

Tian stressed that these radical protesters and the foreign forces behind them should not underestimate China's determination to protect Hong Kong. 

"If police casualties rise and the violent riots cannot be stopped and the city gets paralyzed, the central government will fulfill its ultimate responsibility to safeguard the city and protect the 'one country, two systems' based on the Basic Law," Tian said. 

More importantly, the PLA's reinforcement of the Hong Kong police to crack down on violent riots and maintain public order doesn't mean the death of the "one country, two systems," but allows the policy to serve the HKSAR on a more stable and efficient basis, Tian said.

The Hong Kong police said 20 men and 17 women were arrested during the violent scenes at Sha Tin's New Town Plaza shopping mall after an anti-extradition protest in the New Territories town. The violence followed a Sunday afternoon rally through the center of the town attended by tens of thousands, the SCMP reported.

Hong Kong-based media reported that more protests will take place in Hong Kong on July 21, 27 and 28. Some pro-establishment members of the Legislative Council urged the Hong Kong police to be cautious in permitting more protests.

The central government continues to express support to the HKSAR government and Lam. The Commissioner's Office of the Chinese foreign ministry in Hong Kong lodged stern representations with a Western media outlet, expressing strong disapproval of and firm opposition to its circulation of false information, according to the office's website. 

Mainland netizens also showed their support and expressed their anger. After seeing the report about the riots, a Weibo user said that "if this is not riot, what is?" Another user said, "What would the US, French and UK police do to these violent protesters if this happened in New York, Paris or London? These protesters will be shot already."

A Weibo user identified as "Poker Man" said that "Anti-mainland singer Denise Ho dares to accuse the police of 'abusing the use of violence' against protesters at the UNHRC. What will she say now? Our patience has run out! Send the PLA Garrison to help the HK police!"

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