The Hong Kong police were under fire today over accusations of using excessive force, endangering safety of people and targeting frontline journalists, with the Bar Association leading the charge.
The association said in a statement it is gravely concerned about the use of “wholly unnecessary force” by Hong Kong police against largely unarmed protesters during the anti-extradition protest as well as journalists covering the events.
The statement follows a large number of video footage being shared online, depicting images that include officers apparently aiming shots at protesters at eye level; at least half a dozen fully-geared policemen hitting a lone unarmed protester with baton; as well as an officer shooting pepper spray at close range at a single unarmed middle-aged female protester.
There were also footage showing officers pushing and shoving, and verbally abusing journalists wearing press passes, who had made their identities clear.
The lawyers said video clips of the protest showed the Hong Kong police apparently acting “in disregard of the safety and well-being of protesters and frontline journalists covering the protests.”
“In these cases the police may well have over-stepped its lawful powers in maintaining public order,” the statement added.
The association said it condemns any act of violence used by any party.
It also calls on the government to seriously question whether it is still worth it to pursue the extradition bill in light of the unrest and instability it caused in society.
It said a responsible administration accountable to the public should “pause, engage in dialogue with the community and reconsider its stance.”
The journalists association is also appealing to journalists to provide witness accounts on any police abuse against the media during the protests, adding they will be filed to the Independent Police Complaints Council monitoring the force’s operation.
Source: The Standard.