Hong Kong’s new police commissioner Chris Tang embarked on a courtesy visit to Beijing on Friday. The police also approved a large scale march set to take place on Sunday.

Tang will call on the Ministry of Public Security and the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council. Deputy Commissioner (Operations) Siu Chak-yee is accompanying him. They will both return on Sunday.

“[Tang] will take this opportunity to meet with his counterparts in Beijing as well as to brief them on the law and order situation, and exchange views on cross-boundary crimes and police cooperation,” a government statement said.

Chris Tang
Chris Tang. Photo: RTHK screenshot.

Speaking at the airport before flying to Beijing, Tang said the police have approved a march on Sunday organised by major protest organiser Civil Human Rights Front. The “Human Rights Day 2019” march will start at 3pm at Victoria Park in Causeway Bay. Protesters will proceed to Chater Road in Central.

He said most public events since the 1997 Handover were peaceful and orderly, and the police rarely banned protests. “We respect the public’s right to express opinions,” he said.

Large-scale protests in the city are entering their sixth month. Originally against a now-withdrawn extradition law, the movement has morphed into a wider one demanding democracy and an investigation into police behaviour.

Hung Hom Tsim Sha Tsui protest China extradition pro-democracy "December 1" Salisbury Garden Road
Photo: May James/HKFP.

Tang said some protesters have hijacked public events since June by committing illegal acts including blocking roads, setting fires and throwing petrol bombs. He urged a halt to the violence.

“I urge the organiser [of Sunday’s march] to assist the police as much as possible to make it a peaceful and orderly event. If there are violent incidents, I urge them to work with the police. I hope they will pluck up the courage to condemn violence,” Tang said.

【#和你行 不反已出,12.8 維園見!】民陣 12.8 國際人權日遊行已取得警方不反對通知書,是 7.21 以來首次遊行獲批—— 8.18 變成「流水式集會」,8.31、10.1、10.20…

Posted by 民間人權陣線 Civil Human Rights Front on Thursday, 5 December 2019

He said police have prepared plans for different situations.

When asked about protesters demanding an independent commission of inquiry into police behaviour, Tang said he has repeatedly stressed that the Independent Police Complaints Council (IPCC) should be responsible to look into accusations against officers.

Apple Daily cited an unnamed source reclaiming that the IPCC – which does not have the power to summon witnesses – has almost completed a report about the protests. They are now reportedly awaiting a police response and confirmation.

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Kris Cheng

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.