Justifying its aggressive tactics towards pro-democracy demonstrators, the pro-China Hong Kong police are now accusing young Hong Kongers of committing crimes under the shadow of unrest.
Expressing his concerns, Commissioner of police of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government, Chris Tang Ping-keung said that young people committing crimes have become a trend in the territory amid protests against China.
The Hong Kong police have been called out of its excessive use of forces against the demonstrators in the territory. On June 12, the police arrested 35 people protesting against China’s plan to impose national security legislation on the territory.
In 2019, a total of 4,268 young people were arrested, an increase of more than 50 per cent from 2018. Of the 8,057 people arrested from last June to April 2020, more than 40 per cent were reported being students, according to Tang.
Tang said that Hong Kong is facing a breakdown of rule of law, with violence lurking in people’s daily life, which would ultimately threaten national security and Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability.
His remarks come as speculation mounts of a new round of debilitating protests against Beijing’s pending new security law. The police are preparing to quash possible unrest.
According to media reports, under Beijing’s proposal, the Hong Kong government will have to set up new institutions to safeguard national security and also allow mainland Chinese agencies to operate in the city “when needed”.
The legislation has caused deep concern among those who say it could end Hong Kong’s unique status. Critics are of the opinion that the law would destroy the civil liberties that Hong Kong residents enjoy under the ‘one country, two systems’ agreement put in place when the United Kingdom handed the territory back to China in 1997.
During the 2019 protests over an extradition bill, the conduct of the Hong Kong police force was a subject of controversy.
According to a 2019 report by Washington Post, many in the city’s pro-democracy camp view the Hong Kong police as a means for China’s Communist Party to suppress unrest without resorting to direct intervention that could provoke an international response.
The protests began last year in summer over opposition to a bill that would have allowed extradition from Hong Kong to China. The demonstration morphed into violent protests.