Hong Kong police have arrested two men accused of firing water guns at police officers during Sunday’s Songkran celebration in Kowloon City.
Kowloon City Chief Inspector Cheung Lok-chuen said the pair, aged 25 and 26, had “continuously shot water at close distance against law-enforcing police officers as well as journalists together with four other men using water guns and bottles” during Sunday’s event.
The inspector said late Wednesday the group “intended and had attempted to breach public peace” and their acts had lasted for three minutes in total. The group then posted a video of the incident online with “seditious wordings.”
Cheung said police could not rule out the possibility that the incident was planned in advance and they might make further arrests. The men have been arrested for causing disorder in a public place.
“These celebration events are not an opportunity for those with ulterior motives to vent their frustrations and disrupt order,” he said.
Asked about the incident at a Legislative Council meeting on Wednesday, Secretary for Security Chris Tang said he would not comment on individual cases but police would launch investigations “whenever anybody wants to endanger public safety, public order or national security.”
The security chief said there had been cases of “people using culture and media to either intentionally or unintentionally make derogatory remarks against the nation with misleading allegations and incite people’s dissatisfaction towards the government or the country.”
“We have noticed that, and must take precautions,” he added
Kowloon City, also known as “little Thailand” because of its Thai community, staged the Thai new year celebration event for the first time on Sunday since Covid-19 broke out in 2020. The throwing of water symbolises the washing away of sins and bad luck.
Local media reported that the arrestees were linked to YouTube channel “Bravedogdog.” The channel had uploaded two three-minute clips of a group of men blasting water guns at police officers and TVB News reporters.
In the video, the targeted TVB journalists seek help from police to drive the group away. Phrases such as “Vs HK Po[lice]” and “Diu7Tvb [Fuck TVB]” were also displayed in the footage.
Hours before the police announced the arrests, state-backed newspaper Ta Kung Pao published an op-ed penned by pro-Beijing columnist Chris Wat mentioning the YouTube channel.
The author said the group of men in the video had “maliciously targeted” police and TVB reporters, adding that they “pretended to splash water but were actually stirring up trouble.”
Wat also linked their acts to the 2019 pro-democracy protests and unrest, which she described as “black riots.”
“Dark forces are like volcanoes in dormant… as long as there is a spark of fire and an opportunity, they will make a comeback,” the columnist wrote.
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