Cross calls for more cops and prosecutorsTop News | Staff reporter 30 Oct 2019
More prosecutors should be hired to speed up the process of bringing violent protesters to justice and curbing social unrest, the SAR's former top prosecutor said.
In a Sing Tao Daily interview, Grenville Cross suggested imposing a curfew, as well as doubling the penalty for illegal assembly to six years' imprisonment.
"The department of justice must bring expedited prosecutions, and the courts must impose the toughest of penalties on anyone involved in street violence and mob activity," said the former director of public prosecutions.
Cross said continued violence has hurt the rule of law and that it was necessary to hold perpetrators responsible, with underage protesters also not being exempt from prosecution.
With more than 200 protesters being charged, Cross admitted the workload was heavy for the police and prosecutors.
"More prosecutors are also required to conduct the protest cases, as there have now been almost 2,500 arrests, and the number is growing, and it is vital that DoJ has enough prosecutors to advise and get these cases into court as soon as possible," he said.
There have been two cases where the force went ahead with prosecutions of protesters before getting departmental approval, which Cross said was "a careless mistake."
Such mistakes could be reduced if more staff for both the department and the police can be hired on an urgent basis, he said.
As hatred against the police spreads, Cross said the government must provide additional equipment to officers.
"The police force should be urgently strengthened, and, if necessary, given extra equipment, such as Tasers [stun guns]," he said.
Apart from the anti-mask law, Cross said more should be done, such as "closing down online hate forums, particularly LIHKG, which contains discussions of how to attack police officers."
Cross also encouraged Chief Executive Carrie Lam to work on livelihood issues, including providing affordable housing, increasing job opportunities and reforming the education system.