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Rally organizer 'irresponsible' in encouraging radicals to attack officers

By Chen Zimo | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2020-01-20 09:54

Police condemned the organizer of Sunday's public rally Lau Wing-hong for his "ridiculous and irresponsible" remarks in encouraging radical protesters to attack two police officers with bricks and batons.

In a statement issued on Sunday night, the government strongly condemned the "outrageous attacks" on police officers by rioters.

The two officers, their faces covered in blood, received serious head injuries. They were even chased after they tried to retreat. They had been sent to the scene to hold discussions with the organizer of the public rally in Central when violence flared up about two hours after it began. At about 4:30pm, police requested the organizer end the public rally.

At around 8pm on Sunday, some rioters suddenly threw four petrol bombs at report room and car park of the Tai Po Police Station. Given that the report room was opened to the public at that time, rioters' acts posed a serious threat to the safety of innocent members of public and endangered public safety.

Speaking to reporters at 9:30 pm on Sunday, Senior Superintendent (Operations) Ng Lok-chun of Hong Kong Island Region said it was "ridiculous and irresponsible" of Lau to tell the media the injured officers were "suspected of being plainclothes police officers".

The two police community relations officers had long maintained close communications with Lau. Lau is "certainly acquainted with the injured officers", noted Ng.

The two officers were sent to the venue to liaise with the event organizer "as a gesture of goodwill", as violent protesters inflicted damage to the area, explained Ng.

However, during the discussions, the two officers were surrounded by rioters and brutally beaten up, said Ng. Even when they were retreating, the rioters still chased them and continued their attacks, he added.

The two officers were left with serious and bloody injuries. As a result of rampant rioting, police had no choice but to ask the organizer to halt the event, said Ng.

The organizer, Lau Wing-hong, was arrested after the assembly as he "contravened the conditions of the letter of no objection and repeatedly obstructed police", explained Ng.

Ng also said that at least eight men were arrested for possession of offensive weapons and also instruments intended for unlawful purposes – such as hammers, spanners and extendable batons. These weapons were also used to cause damage and attack police officers during the event, he said.

Police also condemned the rioters for hijacking a public event and committing violent acts.

If the protesters had expressed their views rationally and peacefully, there would be no reason for police to intervene, Ng added.

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