Glimpse of new weapon at Yuen Long showdown

Top News | Cindy Wan 29 Jul 2019

Police brandished a thermal fogger that can turn pepper spray into gas in 26 seconds for the first time at the Yuen Long protest on Saturday.

The new weapon is capable of emitting 100,000 square meters of pepper gas in seconds, according to an unconfirmed leaked police internal document.

A policeman was photographed holding the thermal fogger at the protest zone on Saturday, but there was no video or photo showing it was used to disperse the crowd.

At a media briefing yesterday, the police said they have deployed tear gas, rubber bullets and sponge grenades, but did not mention the thermal fogger.

Political party Demosisto released a 29-page document that appeared to be a police guidebook about tear gas deployment on its Facebook page yesterday, claiming it was leaked by a former police officer who found the clearing action in Yuen Long problematic.

According to the document, the thermal fogger can spread a large amount of irritating gas in a short time or emit smoke that slowly disperses.

It functions by boiling irritating liquids into tear gas and ejecting the gases at high speeds while also allowing users to adjust gas concentration.

It is powered by gasoline and the one-gallon container of irritating liquids can be fired for around 20 minutes.

The police have yet to confirm the authenticity of the leaked document late yesterday.

Demosisto said if the document is real, it could support claims that police had deployed tear gas in wrong ways during their clearing operations recently.

The police must consider the factor that tall buildings on both sides of a road could cause a funnel effect to the dispersing direction of the gas before deploying tear gas, the document states.

Based on this, Demosisto accused the police of using wrong tactics as tear gas grenades were deployed on busy roads where residences and elderly centers conglomerate in the town center of Yuen Long.

It also lambasted the police for not taking action to help people clean up the chemical residue left by tear gas, citing the document that "it is very difficult but very important to clean vehicles and buildings affected by tear gas."

In a statement, Demosisto said: "The police fired tear gas grenades that could severely affect residents' health to residences, rails, the river next to Sai Pin Wai village, but no action was taken to assist or instruct the citizens to clean the chemical substances."

Riot police also charged at protesters who were aiming fire extinguishers and a water hose at officers.

A policeman was captured using a baton with a ring on its tip, prompting Civil Rights Observer, which monitored the clearing action in Yuen Long, to ask whether police intended to make the baton more powerful.

"The use of such weapon could be an illegal use of force," the NGO said on Facebook page yesterday.

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