'Police violence' a smear campaign: Lam

Top News | Cindy Wan 17 Jan 2020

Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor says she will not accept there is "police violence" in handling the civil unrest, calling it a smear campaign to weaken the law enforcement powers of the police.

She also says one country, two systems could continue in 2047 - but Hong Kong young people have only themselves to blame if that does not happen.

Twelve pan-democrats and one pro-Beijing unionist were ejected from the Legislative Council chamber in a ruckus during the question and answer session yesterday.

Addressing lawmakers for the first time since her aborted Policy Address in October, Lam was responding to pan-democrats in Legco, who lambasted her for turning a blind eye to police brutality in quashing the protests, now entering their eighth month.

"I don't accept people using the term 'police violence' to describe Hong Kong's handling of the social unrest that has lasted for seven months," Lam said.

"What we can see is that the police have maintained Hong Kong's security around the clock. To put it simple, Hong Kong police force is a law-enforcement agency. If no one violates the laws, why would the police have to enforce the laws?" she said.

Her remarks sparked protests from the pan-democrats, with HK First's Claudia Mo Man-ching being ordered to leave the chamber after shouting "Liar! You are a bloody liar" from her seat.

Lam insisted officers did not use excessive force to handle clashes, adding that the pipe bomb discovery case on Tuesday was one reason why strict enforcement is necessary.

"Regrettably, we can see that in the past few months there is a campaign smearing and demonizing the police. I believe the hidden agenda was to weaken the police's ability in law enforcement," she said.

Asked about the long-running demand to establish an independent commission of inquiry, Lam only reiterated the government's plan to establish an independent review committee to look into causes of the unrest.

Lam said she hopes to announce next month the setting up of the committee. It will comprise social leaders, experts and academics who will look at deep-seated problems in society.

Pro-establishment lawmaker Ann Chiang Lai-wan, of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, said young people were concerned that the current systems and lifestyle will not be guaranteed after the end of one country, two systems in 2047.

Lam replied the systems should continue even after 2047 if people acknowledged the principle of one country, and respected the differences between the two systems, but youngsters could only have themselves to blame if it took a turn for the worse.

"In fact, most of these young people were born after Hong Kong had been returned to the mother country. One country, two systems ensured they have grown up in a stable and relatively prosperous Hong Kong, where they receive education, employment and potentially the chance to start up their own business," she said.

Her remarks again prompted complaints from the pro-democracy camp. Twelve members were ordered to leave the Legco chamber for asking offensive questions.

The Democratic Party's Andrew Wan Siu-kin asked Lam "when she will go to hell" for allowing the police to arrest innocent young people without sufficient grounds. "You only treat Beijing as your boss and ignore us the Hongkongers. You claim to be a Catholic, but do you actually have God, conscience and justice in your heart? Are you a liar? Are you worried that you will go to hell?" he asked.

Lam replied she never discriminated against the young, whom she "loves dearly."

Other lawmakers ejected from the chamber were James To Kun-sun, Helena Wong Pik-wan, Ted Hui Chi-fung, Kwok Ka-ki, Raymond Chan Chi-chuen, Eddie Chu Hoi-dick, Bottle Shiu Ka-chun, Charles Mok, Lam Cheuk-ting and Alvin Yeung Ngok-kiu.

Even pro-government lawmaker Michael Luk Chung-hung was ordered to go after he got into a row with the pan-democrats.

Top cop, councillors in heated face-off

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