Hong Kong’s riot police officers internally are being warned that there will be consequences to their actions of excessive force, and collectively there is a failure on the front lines of the protests to control officers’ adrenaline.
This was the opinion of Clement Lai, a 22-year veteran of the Hong Kong police force, and founder of the Clement Shield Limited private security firm. He was part of a panel discussing police tactics and behaviour over the course of the last seven months of protests in the city. He was joined by Amnesty International’s Doriane Lau, and Dr. Lawrence Ka-ki Ho, an assistant professor in the Department of Social Sciences at The Education University of Hong Kong and leading expert on the Hong Kong police. Representatives of the Hong Kong Police Force declined the FCC’s invitation to join the panel.
Lai, a former police commander, said that the Hong Kong Police Force was operating in an ever-changing environment and was now employing an “early intervention strategy” that, while effective, had disadvantages.
Calling for an independent investigation into the conduct of the police, Lau said there was evidence of human rights abuses including “something that can amount to torture”. She added that the current system of policing was not working.
Dr. Ho said the Hong Kong Police Force has, since colonial times, morphed into a paramilitary police force and that it was easy for them to find escape clauses for their actions. He added that since the 2001 terror attacks on the United States, police globally had become more militarised.
Watch the panel discussion