Yesterday’s gathering in Central was – by the standards of ‘approved anti-communist rallies’ these days – neither especially huge in size, nor threatening to civilization. But the Hong Kong Police managed to contrive 10 times more mayhem than would have been the case had they stayed away.
This thread asks how and why the police authorize assemblies and then swiftly declare them illegal. It is clearly a pretext to tear-gas and arrest as many people as possible. But what are they expecting to achieve from that? Is it simply to gain approval from Beijing’s officials who demand resolute merciless tough crushing? Or does someone in the local command structure really believe this will convince the public to stay at home? (And if the latter, what will that achieve if it ever works?)
Suggested question for a reporter at the next police press conference: “You have been tear-gassing, pepper-spraying, clubbing, arresting for seven months now – what are you trying to accomplish?”
Suggested answer from a government spokesman: “We have also sent SWAT teams to peel Post-It notes from walls, surrounded university campuses with razor wire, turned pedestrian footbridges into cages, made menacing comments to school principals, tried to ban face-masks, and given a guy a HK$1.7mn six-month contract to run a Dialogue Office. In the circumstances, we feel the police tactics are quite sensible.”
The dialogue meeting at the Queen Elizabeth Stadium on 26 September was a resounding success despite the fact that Mrs. Lam had to wait until 3:00 a.m. to leave the venue and was well worth the HK$1.7 million paid to Mr. Cheuk for organising it.
Can I please be a government spokesman at an enormous salary now?
And why you are busy throwing questions at PR Sir, ask him why the plain clothes cop who ordered a stop to the legal demo refused to show his warrant card, which he was required to do by law. And which would have spared him a severe and well deserved beating.
Call me old fashioned, but turning up to a rally armed with hammers and other aggressive implements suggests to me that some of the “protesters” aren’t really intent on peaceful demonstration. As a hard-working taxpayer, I am delighted that the Police are removing many of these yobsters from the streets. In terms of the force that is used to detain these revolting people, I’ll leave it to the Plods and Plodettes to do what they think is appropriate.
” Is it simply to gain approval from Beijing’s officials who demand resolute merciless tough crushing?”
Yes. If you think about the Hong Kong Government, aren’t at 75% of their actions intended to demonstrate that they are Doing Something about a problem rather than really addressing it? This is that, taken to a sinister extreme. It’s Zombie Apocalypse Yes Minister.
Meanwhile the police around Fanling on weekends are ignoring the myriad of illegally parked cars around the station and are carrying out blitzes on speeding on Sha Tau Kok Rd, a dual lane straight road built on an old railway track line, in a semi-rural area. The 50 km speed limit is routinely ignored by most locals. They appear to be gaming the stats. Finding cars speeding on this road of a quiet weekend is like shooting fish in a barrel.
Last week I was also treated to the sight of a driver telling a pedestrian to get out of the way as he reversed over the gutter and parked his car on the footpath in Shatin.
Let’s give the district council control of parking. They can use the revenue to help create more pedestrian-friendly zones. The police clearly have no interest in real policing.
Bombard Paul Chan with Budget requests that traffic enforcement be contracted out to the private sector. Then instead of being a liability it would finally become a revenue stream. Not to mention the satisfaction for pedestrians when ‘rottweilers’ hit the streets.
Even before the excuse of the protests, the police at most provided a sporadic service rather than the consistent zero tolerance approach required to resolve the problems of double parking, serious congestion and unacceptable levels of air and noise pollution.
Privatised or district council solutions to the enforcement of parking violations invite a return to the pre-ICAC days of routine corruption in matters large and small of public administration.
Be careful what you wish for.
As triads openly ‘manage’ clusters of parking meters in my district, the current system can certainly not qualify for squeaky clean.
They also do a very good job in utilizing the limited spaces as they are on hand to move the cars around to maximize the capacity.
In Fanling and Sheung Shui the police seem to be ignoring illegal parking seven days a week. They have retreated to the Station and pulled up the drawbridge. As in many other Districts, snarled-up streets lead to greater tension and an atmosphere of lawlessness.
Enforcement of speed limits, though, is done by Traffic units, not the Divisional police.