A Hong Kong police association has warned that officers may shoot “live ammunition” if protesters throw petrol bombs at them.

Lam Chi-wai, chair of the Junior Police Officers’ Association, said in a statement issued on Monday that the association was extremely angered by the violent protests over the weekend, giving its “strongest condemnation.”

Lam called protesters “rioters” and said that had attacked a number of innocent residents. He added that police officers’ lives had been threated as Molotov cocktails were hurled in an organised manner.

Lam Chi-wai. Photo: Screenshot.

He cited a clip from Sunday in which two traffic police drew their pistols after being surrounded by protesters with petrol bombs.

“I must warn the rioters who have lost their rational minds – the petrol bombs you used were undoubtedly deadly weapons. When a rioter raises a petrol bomb to prepare to throw it, police officers on scene may very likely see it as a deadly attack upon them or others, and use relevant force or a weapon to stop it, including live ammunition,” Lam wrote.

Lam urged officers to “decisively use” reasonable and appropriate force to protect themselves or others.

“According to the police force’s guidelines on the use of force, in order to control the situation, officers can use force one level higher than the opponent,” Lam wrote.

Two traffic police pulled their pistols after being attacked with petrol bombs on September 15. Photo: Screenshot.

Lam wrote that “rioters” have used many means to block the voices of others in society, including beating people with different opinions, damaging their shops and residences, “doxxing” their private details or threatening them.

“These actions are the opposite of the justice that they claim,” he wrote.

Photo: May James/HKFP.

Hong Kong has seen 100 days of demonstration and unrest triggered by the soon-to-be-withdrawn extradition bill, which would have allowed case-by-case fugitive transfers to mainland China.

Large-scale peaceful protests have morphed into sometimes violent displays of dissent over Beijing’s encroachment and alleged police brutality.

‘Sworn duties’

Meanwhile, Police Commissioner Stephen Lo issued a notice to officers, thanking them for their role in handling the protests over the past three months.

Police Commissioner Stephen Lo. File photo: inmediahk.net.

He said the past 100 days shall be well remembered in the force’s history, as he expressed understanding of the “extreme danger and tremendous stress” officers faced.

“[O]fficers’ welfare and family needs will be taken good care of so that you can be fully committed to performing our sworn duties without worries.”

Lo also said he hoped that injured officers would recover soon.

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Kris Cheng

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.