August 8, 2022

Police officer fires gun, water cannon used for first time on protesters in Hong Kong

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Police officers point their guns at anti-government protesters after being chased and beaten in Tsuen Wan on Sunday. Photo: Reuters

From South China Morning Post

  • At least one warning shot was fired after three officers were chased and beaten by club-wielding demonstrators in Tsuen Wan
  • Crowd-control vehicles brought in after bricks and petrol bombs thrown

A gunshot was fired on Sunday and water cannon were deployed for the first time in Hong Kong’s increasingly violent anti-government protests.

Three police officers, who were chased and beaten by a mob of club-wielding protesters, pulled their revolvers, with one firing a single warning shot skywards at about 8pm on Sha Tsui Road in Tsuen Wan.No one was injured by the gunshot. It was the first time a gun had been discharged since the protests triggered by the now-shelved extradition bill began 12 weeks ago.

Superintendent Leung Kwok-wing of New Territories South regional crime unit confirmed the incident, saying the warning shot was fired because “officers’ lives were under threat”. Five police officers were sent to hospital for treatment.

Police said 36 people were arrested on Sunday, with the youngest being just 12 years old, and 15 officers had been injured.

As soon as the water cannon vehicles arrived, the protesters retreated, and riot police moved in to clear the barricades from the road. The special tactical squad, also known as the Raptors, chased the protesters along Yeung Uk Road, making several arrests.

The protesters then regrouped at Tsuen Wan Park. Some went on to nearby Yi Pei Square, where they had earlier clashed with staff at a mahjong parlour.

Several masked protesters pried open the parlour’s iron gate with steel bars and smashed its windows. They surrounded police who had arrived to stop them and chased the outnumbered officers down the street.

Amid all the chaos, three officers pulled their guns and pointed them at the protesters, who then dispersed.

Officers draw their guns after being chased by protesters. Photo: Handout

Officers draw their guns after being chased by protesters. Photo: HandoutShare:

Later in the evening, some protesters went to Sham Shui Po to continue their fight with police, while scores of demonstrators went to the Cross-Harbour Tunnel in Hung Hom. They did not disrupt traffic, but vandalised toll booths and facilities.

Meanwhile, a photo published by Oriental Daily News showed a Chinese national flag lying sodden on the ground after it had been removed from a flagpole at the Kwai Chung Sports Ground.

At least eight people were injured in Sunday’s mayhem.

Hundreds of people joined an earlier rally calling for an independent inquiry into the use of police force. Photo: Nora Tam

Hundreds of people joined an earlier rally calling for an independent inquiry into the use of police force. Photo: Nora TamShare:

Earlier in the day, a few hundred people claiming to be relatives of police officers, along with supporters, gathered at Edinburgh Place in Central to call on the government to set up an independent inquiry into the use of police force.

They said the government should resolve the political crisis through political means, instead of hiding behind the police who were bearing the brunt of public anger.

But the four major police unions said the group was a rogue organisation and asked their members to tell their relatives not to join the event.

An internal memo circulated among police officers claimed the Police Relatives Connection, which organised the Edinburgh Place rally, had been set up by people associated with the anti-government protests.

Separately, in a statement released on Monday, the Junior Police Officers’ Association said the force should review the current strategy that focuses on dispersing protesters.

The association, which represents 25,000 of the city’s 30,000 officers, stopped short of offering alternatives but added management should also conduct an assessment of its use of force.

The group also condemned protesters, who they said have completely disregarded the law.

The city’s embattled leader Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, meanwhile, was nowhere to be seen despite the unprecedented level of chaos and violence on the streets.

On Saturday, she posted a message on social media saying, “Everyone is tired and let’s find a solution through dialogue”.

But on Sunday, with a gunshot fired and water cannon vehicles on the streets, a return to calm in the city any time soon looked unlikely.

For more on this story go to; https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/politics/article/3024288/police-officer-fires-gun-water-cannon-used-first-time?utm_medium=email&utm_source=mailchimp&utm_campaign=enlz-gme_hk_protests&utm_content=20190826&MCUID=8d9bd0120f&MCCampaignID=5a72a65781&MCAccountID=7b1e9e7f8075914aba9cff17f&tc=1

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