Police chief defends use of force

Top News | Charlotte Luo 13 Jun 2019

Police commissioner Stephen Lo Wai-chung justified the use of tear gas, rubber bullets and bean bag rounds that were fired at protesters, at least 22 of whom were injured.

In a press briefing shortly after officers clashed with protesters, Lo said police had to resort to such action as their defense lines were under attack. He said protesters used metal bars to assault officers.

When asked if police will seek help from the People's Liberation Army, Lo said: "Definitely not at this stage."

He stressed he is confident his officers can contain the situation, which he described as "dangerous" and "chaotic." Lo urged the public not to enter the area.

During the briefing, Lo used the Cantonese term for "disturbance," but a police spokesman later clarified that he meant "riot."

Rubber bullets and bean bag rounds - small fabric bags filled with lead pellets - are non-lethal, but could cause injury if fired from a short range.

The Civil Human Rights Front, which organized the mass rally on Sunday, strongly condemned the use of weapons against protesters.

It said the protest took place yesterday because Carrie Lam ignored the voices of the 1.03 million people and over her refusal to withdraw the extradition bill.

"Carrie Lam is fully responsible for the fury of the people," it said.

The front called on the international community to condemn the crackdown.

In Beijing, Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang criticized online rumors about the central government sending a "stabilizing force" to Hong Kong.

He said it was fraudulent news reported in an attempt to create panic.

Geng said the central government firmly supports the fugitive law amendment and that Hong Kong's mainstream public opinion opposes any behavior that undermines the city's stability and prosperity.

charlotte.luo@singtaonewscorp.com

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