Saturday, 28 December 2019

HK Police Step Up Violence


Police dressed as protesters hit people with extendable batons in the mall
The "shopping protests" have changed tactics to focus on shops catering to parallel traders, those who buy goods in Hong Kong and then take them across the border to sell at higher prices for a profit.

This has been going on for years and this was particularly egregious in 2012 to the point where districts near the mainland border ran out of goods like milk powder and it had to be rationed to two cans per customer. Back then parallel traders were called "locusts" for taking everything and leaving nothing behind.

People protest against parallel traders in Sheung Shui
So to put more pressure on the Hong Kong government to resolve the political crisis that has gripped the city for seven months, protesters targeted several shopping malls, including Landmark North shopping centre in Sheung Shui, the last district before the border with China.

The protesters shouted, "Five demands, not one less", "disband the police force", and also "go back to the mainland", aimed at Chinese daytrippers and parallel traders. This forced almost all the shops in the mall to close down for fear of potential vandalism.

But the protests also attracted the police, who stepped up their tactics in a more brutal way.

They dressed up like protesters and then without warning whipped out extendable batons and began attacking and arresting people. The riot police in uniform were nearby and also had no qualms beating up protesters until blood spilled.

There is a video on Twitter showing a young man being excessively beaten by riot police in Landmark North, and there is blood on one of the police shields.

 

Is this really necessary? Why not just arrest them and save energy to catch the next protester? Another brutal tactic of unleashing pepper spray at point blank range is also uncalled for.

This stepped up brutality not only further contravenes the Hong Kong police force's code of conduct, but shows officers are willing to use more violence to subdue protesters.

Is shooting pepper spray really necessary at close range?
Since Beijing has endorsed Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor during her latest duty visit earlier this month, it seems her way of quelling the protesters is with more violence.

This is totally outrageous. 

This is how Lam and police chief Chris Tang Ping-keung think they can end the protests?

While wounds may eventually heal, trauma does not go away and these shocking images will infuriate more people to come out to yet another large-scale protest march on January 1.

The people are not cowering. It's going to be a long fight.


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