2nd July 2019 – (Hong Kong) Police have been practising a more restrained approach against the protestors yesterday during the siege at the Legislative Council Building since the 12th June clash. After receiving widespread criticisms from local and international media, police decided to play down their presence to avoid excessive use of force against normal civilians.
However, it is still mind boggling for us to wonder why police would allow protestors to breach the final defence line via the roller shutter at the Legislative Council Building. Protestors were left to roam into the building before causing extensive damages to the Legislative chamber and other areas.
Police in full riot gear were already on standby-mode behind the roller shutter when the protestors were smashing and breaking it with iron bars and other objects. They even warned the protestors incessantly with hand horn speaker telling them to back off or face prosecution.
At around 9pm yesterday, an unidentified homemade teargas-like canister was first thrown in under the quarterly-open roller shutter by protestors towards the riot police during the stand off.
A police officer then kicked the canister out to the floor and smoke emitted from it moments later. A second teargas-like canister was fired again by the protestors. More white smoke could be seen emitting from the second canister. Media reporters immediately retreated to hide behind fire doors. A police officer then passed an unidentified spray to their front line.
A third round of tear gas was fired but this time we are not sure if the police or the protestors fired the shot. According to another video posted by a netizen, at 01.24, the third round of tear gas was fired by police in the absence of any protestors. However we could not confirm if this was the case nor could we verify if the video had been edited.
Nevertheless, at around 9pm, riot police suddenly retreated from the front line behind the roller shutter. At 19.07 of Video 2 by Epoch Times, you can clearly see the police leaving their front line. One female officer could be heard saying ‘Let’s go’. It appeared that the police had no intention to make any arrests despite giving repetitive warnings to the protestors.
After they retreated, the protestors gradually moved in via the half-open roller shutter and they started to vandalise the walls, logos and several portraits of the President and past Presidents of the Legislative Council. It seems like the police deliberately allowed them to invade the Legislative Council to cause further criminal damages.
Commissioner of Police refuted the idea that the police set up a trap for protestors
Meanwhile, during the media conference at 4am yesterday, the Commissioner of Police, Stephen Lo refuted the idea that police withdrew their front line on purpose to set a trap for protestors. He defended the police’s action by saying that they needed to re-strategise after protestors fired unknown teargas-like canisters towards the police. Further, part of the building blacked out because the protestors were suspected to have tampered with an electricity box. They were worried that the situation would get out of control. He further added the lack of space as a major deterrent for the riot police to effectively disperse the protestors.
Kenneth Leung Kai-cheong, a member of the Legislative Council questioned the police retreat because they were fully equipped with masks. There was no reason for them not to guard against the normal civilians as they would not be able to force through the riot police anyway as they were armed.
Earlier today, we reported that a pre-recorded video was posted on the Facebook of Hong Kong Police at 9.36pm to warn protestors to leave immediately after protestors took over the Legislative Council Building in a violent and lawless manner. However, many netizens alleged that the time shown on the police officer’s watch was 5.05pm while in the video, he mentioned that the protestors trespassed to the Legislative Council building at 9pm. (READ HERE for full story)
However, Chief Superintendent TSE Chun-chung of Police Public Relations Branch quashed the theory as he showed in a new video that the time on his watch earlier was photoshopped from 10.05pm to to 5.05pm and the alleged video was uploaded on 10.21pm instead of 9.36pm. Read HERE.
Tse also stated that police decided to retreat completely from the building due to safety concerns and many other factors. However, he did not elaborate further.
This leaves us to still wonder why the front line riot police retreated abruptly after 9pm to allow protestors to take over the entire building easily.
The entire strategy might be planned to shed the negative image on the police force during the 12th June clash and to further degrade the image of protestors as violent and lawless thugs who resorted to use of force illegally. Some netizens argued that police could now confidently build up a solid case against the protestors and charge them legally in court as criminal offences have been committed.
These protestors have now turned officially into violent thugs in the eyes of the world and other civilians who prefer a more subtle way to voice against the government. Besides, the embattled Hong Kong government can now justify their use of rule of law to prosecute the perpetrators with less resistance from people.
However, this conspiracy theory will never be debunked as the public can always come to their own conclusions as to why police chose to retreat.
Irrespective of whether the police did intentionally set a trap, the protestors still had a choice because if they were rational, they would not have caused extensive damages to the building or used homemade weapons to fight against the police officers. They could have opted to back off instead of occupying and destroying the Legislative Council.