Hong Kong police have proposed hiring 900 more officers to handle potential protests and terrorist attacks. The force is to submit the funding request to the legislature’s Finance Committee.

Police Commissioner Lo Wai-chung said Tuesday that he plans to expand the force by 900 officers, mainly to serve in the Emergency Unit and the Police Tactical Unit. The former is tasked with responding to emergencies, while the latter assists with crime prevention, natural disasters and internal security.

Lo Wai-chung. File Photo: GovHK.

Lo said the expansion is needed for anti-terrorism work as well as for handling mass demonstrations, which he said have intensified in recent years.

“We made the proposal based on the latest security concerns, anti-terrorism work and population growth,” he said. “You can see demonstrations and protesters have become increasingly confrontational, and of course we need to increase the ability of our front-line officers to handle public events and terrorist activities.”

Lo declined to disclose when the force would begin testing or operating their controversial water cannons. Earlier this year, the police invited bids to supply three water cannons as an addition to its armoury. Documents obtained by HK01 stated that at least 15 cannons will be attached to each armoured vehicle.

Photo: HKFP.

Former secretary for security Ambrose Lee Siu-kwong previously said that Hong Kong police need water cannons to maintain law and order, describing protesters during the Mong Kok unrest in February as “monsters.”

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said on his blog in March that there was a “moderate” threat of terrorism in Hong Kong owing to regional security risks. “We cannot take good order for granted,” he said.

Ellie Ng

Ellie Ng has written for Foreign Policy, the Daily Telegraph, Global Voices Online and others.