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Masked rioters hijacked the January 1 public procession and committed alarming acts of vandalism. Police Public Relations Branch Chief Superintendent Kwok Ka-chuen made the statement during today’s press conference. Mr Kwok explained that even though the procession began in a peaceful manner, many people were apprehended. “Even before the event began at around 2.20pm, Police made several arrests for possession of offensive weapons. A teenager as young as 13 years old was found to possess an extendable baton and hammer. “This indeed as a bad omen for the public event that followed. Masked rioters hijacked the procession and started to cause trouble soon after the procession started.” Mr Kwok added that throughout the day, rioters blocked roads, smashed traffic lights, vandalised shops and banks, and launched attacks on police officers with petrol bombs and different weapons. “In one of the most alarming cases, rioters spray-painted offensive words on the outer wall of the High Court to insult a judge. This kind of attack will make a dent in the spirit of the law and threaten the independence of the Judiciary. “Some other rioters set fire to the lion statues of a bank and vandalised its facilities. They also ransacked targeted coffee shops that were unsupportive of their illegal acts. “It is very ironic that these rioters claim to be fighting for freedom but are depriving others of their freedom to do business in Hong Kong.” Mr Kwok then reiterated that police officers did not commit any destructive acts and described such accusations as a smear campaign. “The most despicable thing is the supporters of these rioters took press interviews and accused Police of committing such destructive acts. “They made up false accounts to smear Police and confuse the public. We strongly rebut such allegations as totally false and groundless. “What’s worse, some unethical media quoted these rumour-mongers and spread fake news. This is an organised and ill-intentioned smear campaign to discredit Police and jeopardise our operational efficiency.”
Police today rebutted rumours that accused police officers of smashing the glass of a bank this afternoon. The Force pointed out that at around 4pm, black-clad masked rioters smashed the glass of a bank on Hennessy Road in Wan Chai and the case is under investigation. Police explained that some online media and social groups have quoted rumour mongers as saying police officers were responsible. Police strongly rebut such a groundless and fabricated allegation and express regret over such rumours which are calculated to discredit Police. Police added that they will bring offenders to justice.
Personal attacks and insults against judges would severely undermine the authority of the courts and damage public confidence in the judicial system, the Department of Justice said today. It made the statement in response to vandalism outside the High Court Building and criticism against a judge today, stressing that judicial independence is an essential element of the rule of law. It said the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government respects the freedom of speech of individuals. Members of the public have the right to express their views on court decisions and related matters within the boundary permitted by the law. The statement also quoted the Chief Justice of the Court of Final Appeal’s remarks at last year’s ceremonial opening of the legal year as saying: “It is no part of a court's function or duty to adjudicate on political or social issues, nor economic ones, whether siding with one extreme or another, or finding some sort of middle ground to solve the community's political, social or economic concerns. “Rather, at all times, the court is concerned with dealing with one aspect and one aspect only: a resolution of the legal issues arising in the dispute before it.” The statement pointed out that any person who is dissatisfied with court decisions may lodge appeals through the existing mechanism and should not criticise judges abusively or impute them of political bias, otherwise, the rule of law in Hong Kong would be undermined. Meanwhile, Police strongly condemned such an unlawful act which defies the spirit of the law and stressed that it has classified the case as criminal damage and will enforce the law impartially.
Police today expressed alarm that criminals encouraged youngsters to commit crimes over the weekend, revealing the spread of lawlessness among juveniles. Police Public Relations Branch Chief Superintendent Kwok Ka-chuen made the statement at this afternoon’s press conference. Mr Kwok said: “Over the weekend, during our arrest operation, we arrested a large number of youngsters and are very alarmed that some criminals incited youngsters to commit crime.” He added that Police also came across cases where teachers led students in criminal acts. “These show the spreading of lawlessness among youngsters, who are impressionable and easily misguided by criminals.” In response, Mr Kwok said Police are maintaining close communication with community service groups to provide assistance to youngsters. “For example, Police participate in the Community Support Service Scheme run by the Social Welfare Department and NGOs (non-governmental organisations). “Police will refer underage arrested persons to the department and NGOs, given that they and their guardians have given consent. They will provide professional support and counselling services.”
Police today urged those taking part in a major public event, proposed by the Civil Human Rights Front scheduled for January 1, to be rational and peaceful. Police Public Relations Branch Chief Superintendent Kwok Ka-chuen made the statement at a press briefing. Police always respect citizens’ freedom of speech and assembly, he explained, adding that the force is also duty-bound to maintain law and order. Mr Kwok said: “To prevent history from repeating itself, we have maintained very close communication with the organiser of a major public event to be held on Hong Kong Island on January 1. “We appeal to the organiser and all participants to remain rational and peaceful during the public event. Public safety should be the top priority.”
Police today clarified that they have a well-established mechanism to deal with complaints. Police Public Relations Branch Chief Superintendent Kwok Ka-chuen made the remarks at a news conference. Mr Kwok said: "We are aware that one man told the press that he received a letter from Police asking him to make a statement regarding a complaint against Police within 30 days, or else the investigation will be curtailed.” He noted that such an accusation is false because the letter in question pertains to another case involving the same person. “Due to privacy concerns, I can't comment further, but I can assure you that this incident has nothing to do with the ongoing protests.” Mr Kwok added that the Complaints Against Police Office has no plan to terminate the investigation into the relevant complaint report.
Police strongly condemned rioters who inflicted extensive damage on various shopping centres in Sheung Shui and Kowloon Bay over the past two days. At today’s press conference, Police Public Relations Branch Chief Superintendent Kwok Ka-chuen said masked rioters vandalised shops and restaurants, and harassed shoppers and diners, young and old. In the small hours of yesterday, rioters even hurled petrol bombs at a targeted restaurant that they thought was unsupportive of their extremist views, he added. “Rioters are terrorising the public with their triad-like tactics - whoever disagrees with their violence will be met with violence. “They claim to be fighting for their rights but they are actually trampling others’ rights to enjoy peace and safety. “They claim to be fighting for freedom but they are depriving others of their freedom to express dissenting views. “They claim to be fighting for justice but they are taking justice into their own hands. “Police strongly condemn all these unlawful and immoral acts of rioters.”
Police announced that it will examine a case in which an officer showed a reporter’s identity card in front of a camera. At today’s press conference, Police Public Relations Branch Chief Superintendent Kwok Ka-chuen described the incident as inappropriate. “We are aware that during a stop-and-search on a protest site, one officer showed the identity card of a reporter to a camera. “This officer’s practice was inappropriate and we will proactively investigate this matter. “We will also provide assistance to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data to support their investigation.”
Police today said some people have been misled by fake news and misinformation and urged for dialogue. Speaking to reporters at a press conference in the afternoon, Police Public Relations Branch Chief Superintendent Kwok Ka-chuen said some people are using misinformation to discredit the force and to defend rioters. He noted that there has been a lot of fake news on the Internet and mainstream media since June. Mr Kwok said: “For example, one man who fell from height said he didn’t want to so-called disappear from the world. Such ridiculous thinking shows he has been brainwashed and indoctrinated with anti-Police hatred. “Police always work under a legal framework and follow the law closely when carrying out our legal duties. Once we have sufficient evidence to prosecute a case, our work and investigation are also subject to strict scrutiny of the court. Indeed, many arrested people have come out and said our handling of their cases had been professional and sensible. “It is vital that we talk sense into those who have been brainwashed and misled by fake news and misinformation. “We should restore a rational dialogue and let dialogue replace division.”
Police today condemned rioters’ destructive acts in shopping malls during the Christmas holiday and called on citizens to say no to violence. At a press conference, Police Public Relations Branch Chief Superintendent Kwok Ka-chuen said rioters caused damage at various malls, prompting Police to enforce the law. "Over the past few days, rioters and their supporters inflicted extensive damage on different shopping centres where families were enjoying their holidays. But their holiday mood was ruined by the destructive and selfish acts of rioters who went on rampages in malls in Tai Po, Mong Kok and Tsim Sha Tsui. “They stormed these shopping centres to vandalise targeted shops and restaurants and to harass diners and shoppers, young and old. Their scheme is to silence those who hold dissenting views and to terrorise the public. Whoever disagrees with their violence will be met with violence. “This has thrown our city into a state of black terror. The whole society is living in constant fear. Anyone can be the next victim of this black terror. Not only are these masked rioters brutal, they are also shameful. Shame on them for committing crimes and hoping to escape legal liability. “Police officers are duty-bound to enter shopping malls to enforce the law, to protect members of the public and bring offenders to justice." Mr Kwok cautioned against supporting such terror. “If we continue to let this black terror go on, the whole society will soon enter a recession. We once again sincerely appeal to every member of Hong Kong to say no to violence and stand with us to stamp out violence.”