Hong Kong police have deployed tear gas against protesters in Tin Shui Wai who were rallying against the treatment of a female protester.
Multiple police stations were surrounded by local residents and demonstrators in separate districts on Sunday, to protest the force’s use of crowd control weapons against protesters during weeks of protest against the ill-fated extradition bill.
A group of male officers removed a female protester in Tin Shui Wai on Sunday by grabbing her limbs. The woman’s dress was pulled up as officers dragged her away, exposing her crotch. The force said officers had to do so because the protester was struggling.
Yolanda Yu, senior superintendent of the police public relations bureau, said during a 4:45am press conference that the female protester was arrested for assaulting a police officer.
“During the process, she did not cooperate. We found three female officers to subdue her. But because she struggled and did not cooperate, two more male officers came to subdue her,” Yu said. “Because she was wearing a dress and because she struggled, that was maybe why you saw what was shown in the video,” she added.
Demonstrators returned to the Tin Shui Wai police station on Monday afternoon to protest against the treatment.
— Galileo Cheng (@galileocheng) August 5, 2019
But they were met with officers in riot gear who conducted a clearance operation to disperse them. Dozens of protesters were subdued by officers. Some protesters continued to throw rocks at police.
Police thrice raised a black flag warning showing that they may use tear gas, before several canisters were shot at around 2:40pm.
Democratic Party lawmaker Helena Wong had strongly condemned the treatment of the female protester, saying: “It was a rude behaviour that was highly disrespectful to women.”
The lawmaker said it was not the first time police have treated female protesters poorly. On June 12, a female protester was pulled from a group by officers, revealing her bra.
Wong demanded that the police explain the incident in Tin Shui Wai and called for improvements to be made in light of it.
She said she has asked the Equal Opportunities Commission and the Independent Police Complaints Council to take action over the incident.
Meanwhile, the police arrested 44 people during Sunday’s protests.
When protesters laid siege to Kwun Tong police station on Sunday afternoon, hurling rocks at the windows, an officer shot at the crowd below from the fifth floor without any prior warning. At least ten shot of pepper balls were fired.
Senior superintendent Yu said the police must use appropriate force against violent protesters.
“Different cameras at different angles may show different things. We will give warnings, if feasible, before using the least amount of force possible,” she said.