The Hong Kong police force say that they have arrested more than 6,000 people since June in relation to the ongoing protests, and have fired crowd control weapons around 30,000 times.

Hong Kong has seen six months of large-scale protests. Initially against the now-withdrawn extradition law, demonstrators are now focused on wider demands including an independent investigation of the police force for alleged brutality and full democracy.

The police said at a press conference on Monday that they have arrested 4,474 males and 1,548 females between 11 and 84 years old, on suspicion of unlawful assembly, rioting and possession of offensive weapons among other offences. Of those arrested, 2,393 were students.

"November 10" Tsuen Wan shopping tear gas protest
Photo: May James/HKFP.

The police said they have used around 16,000 tear gas rounds, 10,000 rubber bullets, 2,000 bean bag rounds, as well as 1,850 sponge grenades since June.

Since protests began, 493 police officers have been injured, including 452 male and 41 female officers.

And the internal Complaints Against Police Office had received more than 1,300 complaints in connection to the protests as of last Friday.

Baton in luggage

The police also confirmed that an officer received a warning for having a baton in his luggage when departing the city. The force started to issue extendable batons to off-duty officers in September.

yuen long july 27 mtr police beat baton (1)
Police Tactical Unit officers using batons at protesters in Yuen Long MTR station on July 27. Photo: HKFP.

Police Public Relations Branch Senior Superintendent Kong Wing-cheung confirmed that the person in question was an off-duty officer who was leaving Hong Kong via the airport on Sunday.

The officer was stopped by airport security, but was allowed to leave. Kong said it was an “oversight” by the officer, and they received an admonition.

“Now the officer knows that they cannot bring a baton when departing Hong Kong,” he said.

Homophobic insult

Jimmy Sham, convener of the Civil Human Rights Front which organised a large-scale march on Sunday, said a police officer called him a “faggot.” Sham – also a district councillor-elect – is openly gay.

Jimmy Sham
Jimmy Sham (left). Photo:

When asked about insults by police officers against protesters, Kong said both sides were to blame.

“You cannot be one-sided and say only a police officer made insulting comments,” he said. “We have to respect each other.”

“It’s better to have more heart, then the atmosphere will be calmer,” he added.

高舉雨傘,以傘柄砌成心型,並高呼「愛比暴力強 與警暴割蓆」

【金鐘】示威者於太古廣場外高舉雨傘,以傘柄砌成心型,並高呼「愛比暴力強 與警暴割蓆」

Posted by Stand News 立場新聞 on Sunday, 8 December 2019

Kong was referring to scenes whereby protesters directed heart signs to police officers. It came following government public service advertisement stating that “love is stronger than violence, cut ties with violence.”

He said the police have yet to find live videos of the remarks that Sham described, but said no discriminatory remarks were ideal.

Police seize gun

Meanwhile, police arrested seven males and four females on Sunday morning before the march on suspicion of possession of a firearm without a licence, possession of dangerous goods, possession of prohibited weapons and unlawful assembly. Five of them have been charged.

Police seized a 9mm Glock semi-automatic pistol, 105 hollow-point bullets, five magazines, three knives, two bulletproof vests, four pepper sprays. nine batons and a cache of fireworks, among other items.

police seize weapon

Police Public Relations Branch Chief Superintendent Kwok Ka-chuen said the consequences would be catastrophic if the group appeared at the peaceful march on Sunday.

Kwok said the arrested group were using hollow-point bullets, similar to the ammunition that the police force were using.

“We do not rule out that they were intending to masquerade as police officers,” he said.

Hong Kong Free Press relies on direct reader support. Help safeguard independent journalism and press freedom as we invest more in freelancers, overtime, safety gear & insurance during this summer’s protests. 10 ways to support us.

fundraising fundraise banner

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.