Hong Kong unrest: police hope for government’s assistance in easing public pressure

Published: Sep 29, 2019, 8:51 am IST

Facing growing anger from the general public in Hong Kong amid ongoing protests, the city’s police officers hope that the local government could find solutions to change the public’s negative perception of them.

Police officers in Hong Kong have been facing unprecedented pressure from the general public, which has turned their anger towards them due to alleged police brutality while handling recent protests in the city.

“It is difficult to change people’s attitude towards us in just a short time. It will take a long time. We can only try to do our jobs well. There is no other way. I believe the government needs to do a lot of things, such as addressing the issue through education and getting the legislative council to introduce new laws to solve related problems,” a female officer who only gave her last name, Chen, told Sputnik, while patrolling the Causeway Bay shopping district in the wake of a large protest expected to take place in the area on Sunday afternoon.

Accusing the local police of violent actions against protesters, the city’s general public has been putting their anger on ordinary officers. When someone starts to shout “black police,” referring to police’s alleged black deeds, a large number of bystanders would join the chant to criticize officers patrolling the streets of Hong Kong.

When police officers tried to check identity of a girl who cursed at some officers on Saturday night in the Causeway Bay area, she refused to comply and was about to be taken away by the officers for further questioning. But the crowd started to chant “mafia, mafia,” denouncing the officers who tried to take the girl away. The girl was released by the police under the pressure from the public after presenting her identification document to the officers.

Officer Chen said the only way for the police to handle hostility from the public was to stay calm and be reasonable. “Our way to handle such situation is to try to reason with them. If they will not listen to us, we will just try to ignore them. We hope, the government can find more ways to protect the police officers. But it also will take some more time,” she said.

The officer admitted that even when she went home and took off her uniform, she could not feel more relaxed, as everyone in Hong Kong faced similar pressure these days.
A large number of police officers, many in full anti-riot gear with plastic shields, batons and riot control guns have been deployed in the Causeway Bay shopping district on Sunday, where a large protest, dubbed “Global Anti-totalitarian Rally,” is expected to take place.

Over the past few months, Hong Kong has been facing a wave of rallies against proposed amendments to the city’s extradition law. Protests often turn violent after demonstrators begin engaging in clashes with the police. In early September, the controversial extradition bill was formally withdrawn. However, protesters continued rallying, demanding universal suffrage, an end to legal procedures against fellow demonstrators and an investigation into alleged police violence. The law enforcers strongly deny any claims of disproportionate use of force. (UNI)