Police refuse to tag airport offenses as terror acts

Top News | Cindy Wan 15 Aug 2019

Five men aged 17 to 28 were arrested after they obstructed police from rescuing a mainland man who was attacked and detained by protesters at the airport on Tuesday night.

However, Li Kwai-wah, senior superintendent of the Organized Crime and Triad Bureau, said that while unlawful detention and assault were "despicable acts," they were not enough to be defined as "terrorism" based on the United Nations ordinance of anti-terrorism measures.

Judging from videos taken of the airport incidents, Li said: "Those were severe crimes, but they were not [acts of] terrorism."

Tse Chun-chung, chief superintendent of the Police Public Relations Branch, said officers had arrived to rescue the mainland man who was assaulted and unlawfully detained in Terminal 1 by radical protesters at around 11pm.

Police then arrested the five men to ensure a smooth operation, including two who had assaulted officers and possessed offensive weapons.

They were detained for participating in an unlawful assembly and the cases are being investigated by the New Territories South regional crime unit.

Tse warned that making trouble at the airport can lead to life in prison, citing the aviation security ordinance provision on endangering safety at aerodromes.

It is an offense to use any means or weapon to cause death, serious injury and endanger the safety operation of the aerodrome, he said.

Mak Chin-ho, assistant commissioner of police (operations), defended the officer who drew his gun at protesters after he was attacked from behind.

The officer pulled out his gun in a life-threatening situation to warn off the protesters, and such an action is "absolutely correct, totally reasonable and lawful," Mak said.

"My colleague's performance was brave, determined and restrained."

As to whether the assaulted mainland man was a Shenzhen policeman as claimed, Mak said Hong Kong police did not have such information.

Tse explained why police did not come to the airport immediately after the assault.

Officers worked with the Airport Authority and the airport security company to monitor the situation and was alerted at a later time to follow up the incident, he said.

He said the force had to consider whether immediate enforcement would worsen the situation and other operational tactics before launching a mission.

cindymt.wan@singtaonewscrop.com

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