With protests in Hong Kong continuing, more than one million people in the region signed a petition in support of the police. The petition began to collect signatures last Saturday. Hong Kong police have arrested over 300 violent protesters since the Occupy Central movement started. CCTV America’s Han Peng reports.
The chief superintendent at the Hong Kong Police, Hui Chun-Tak, said: “We have around 28,000 policemen across Hong Kong. They are now working 24-7, as the city’s public security is at stake like never before.”
Since the Occupy Central protest began more than a month ago, Hong Kong police faced criticism from protesters for doing their job trying to keep order and security.
However, the police gave a different side of the story. “In many cases, we face organized confrontation from protesters, incited by a few extremists. These small handful of people not only incite violence, but some of them carry weapons and seek to assault the police,” said Hui Chun-Tak.
In some of these clashes, a few policemen would be facing hundreds or even thousands of protesters ready to charge against the cordon line and expand their blockades. Sindy Chan San-Yuk, the Hong Kong Police Negotiator, said, “Even when the protesters are not violent, they use electric torches to flash the eyes of the policemen on duty. If many of them do so, police would have to either give up the cordon line or resort into using force. So we, as police negotiators, were deployed at this moment as an attempt to contain the use of force and prevent escalation of violence.”
There are also fears of reprisals. “They threaten the families of the policemen. Some children of my colleagues even received death threats. Those who disclose the information of the families of the police online are very immoral, and will face prosecution,” said Hui Chun-Tak.
As protests wear on, there are signs of distress taking its toll. Ingrid Mak, the senior police clinical psychologist, said: “Over the past month, we have to go to the gathering sites of the protesters to conduct psychological counseling to the policemen. Many of the policemen are really frustrated, as they’ve trying very hard to safeguard the city, but on the contrast, received unequal assault.”
As thousands of Occupy Central protesters continue to defy the court’s injunction order and maintain the blockades, Hong Kong police are on high alert day and night to ensure the public safety. Over the past few days, the police put their helmets and batons on the ground as a way to show restraint.