Restricting HK police damages rule of law

Source:Global Times Published: 2019/7/22 23:30:30

Public order in Hong Kong has suffered unprecedented impact. The Special Administrative Region (SAR) government has been facing serious difficulties in governing according to law. With the rioters' unscrupulous behavior, the rule of law in Hong Kong is in jeopardy.

An essential cause of Hong Kong's chaos lies in the greatly limited police power. The police's duty is to uphold law and order and to deal firmly with offenders. But since June, some violent demonstrators have started to throw stones at police officers. The police officers who attempted to control the situation, however, have been accused by some in Hong Kong of "abusing violence." In the past month or so, charges against the police of "resorting to violence" have even been more than that against the rioters.

The Western public opinion's support for extreme opposition and the fermentation of social media have placed tremendous pressure on the Hong Kong police. 

Certain previous cases adjudicated by the SAR's courts have also discouraged the police from strictly enforcing the law. The "Occupy Central" movement in 2014 had thrown Hong Kong into chaos for months. But very few order breakers were sentenced and only spent a short period in prison. In contrast, many police officers paid a heavy price. Some were subjected to longer imprisonment, and some lost their jobs.

Hong Kong has long taken the rule of law as its core value. But politics is now above the rule of law. Some unlawful acts, including attacking police and smashing government agencies, were conducted in the name of "pursuing democracy," winning people's sympathy and tolerance. And the actions the police took to stop such crimes have become a risk on the political level.

The rule of law is no longer considered a core, and the value judgment is above the rule of law. The police are the fundamental and most significant tool of the rule of law. If the rule of law is taken as the core, the police would be powerful. If value judgment impacted by politics becomes prominent, violent demonstrators would be even stronger than the police.

The police power is now subject to the above-mentioned restrictions. Thus, people's impulses to break the law will increase, leading to poor public security. It is the Hong Kong residents who have to pay the price.

Accusations of police law enforcement or police "no action" are both connected to politics and value judgment. This will force the police to make a politically correct choice - either to enforce the law or not, which completely runs counter to the duty of the police.

Hong Kong society must restore the authority of the police, lifting all the restrictions and harassment on law enforcement. Police must only recognize law, not political correctness. People who violate the law must be dealt with, regardless of their political pursuit. 

Hong Kong police face the risk of being attacked by the mob, "flesh search" by the online mob, which has severely restrained the police force. This is no longer how a society under the rule of law should operate. If Hong Kong continues to regard rule of law as its core value, it must treat police law enforcement correctly.

Posted in: EDITORIAL

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