Talking Points: is it right for police to use pepper spray on protesters?

Talking Points: is it right for police to use pepper spray on protesters?

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Reasonable or excessive?
Photo: K.Y. Cheng

Jasmine Lo, 13, Tak Nga Secondary School

I support the Hong Kong police force’s decision to fire pepper spray at protesters, as long as they have given sufficient allowance and reasonable warning to them. Pepper spray is better than a violent confrontation. For crowd control, police could also use a flashbang – a non lethal explosive device the makes a blinding light and loud noise, or smoke bombs. These would help disperse protesters without causing injuries.

Marriam Naveed, 17, True Light Middle School of Hong Kong

Pepper spray hurts – a bit went into my eye during the Occupy Central Movement – but its better than when police in places such as New York hit people with batons. However, there are better techniques police can use to control crowds. For example, an army of police holding riot shields can surround the crowd to stop them. Riot shields are long enough to cover an average-sized man from head to toe.

Oscar Cheung Yu-kiu, 15, Ma On Shan Tsung Tsin Secondary School

Police should keep using pepper spray on protesters because it is easy to carry and it can control crowds. Moreover, it does not cause too much harm on protesters and it is an effective deterrent.

In addition to pepper spray, police can use water cannons, because although these can cause some pain, they rarely injure people. Although it is big, it can easily control a crowd.


I got pepper sprayed but I ain't mad


Bobo Cheung Hok-yu, 15, Ma On Shan Tsung Tsin Secondary School

Using pepper spray is good because it can control protesters, but it is still less harmful than other techniques. Police could also use water cannons, which can shoot a high-velocity stream of water dozens of metres. When people are shot by a water cannon, they usually fall down. The cannons are usually quiet scary looking, so that alone will keep the crowd in order. Actually, if the protesters can demonstrate in a peaceful way, no “crowd control” is needed, and the city would be a more harmonious place.

Kaka Ng Ka-yan, 13, Tak Nga Secondary School

Instead of using pepper spray, police should wear special watches that could spray out a blue liquid when a crowd is out of control. Police could warn everyone that it is a very dangerous liquid, but it’s actually just blueberry syrup, and you can eat it! Of course, that part would be top secret, so that no one would go too close to the police. And no one would be able to figure it out, either, because the syrup is really stinky!

Agnes Choi Wing-yan, 15, Ma On Shan Tsung Tsin Secondary School

Police shouldn’t use pepper spray because it is dangerous for people. Also, protesters have the right to voice out their complaint, and the police have the duty to protect Hong Kong people. Using pepper spray is not protecting them. Besides, a water cannon could control crowds too.

Ideally, though, I hope the police would not use any tools to hurt people, and protesters would obey the orders of the police.

Karry Chu, 13, Tak Nga Secondary School

When protesters do illegal things and cause violence, it’s OK for police to use pepper spray to control the crowd. Tear gas is OK, too, because sometimes pepper spray is not enough. And if protesters continue to get out of line, then police should react like police in other countries would, and use force.


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Alisha Ho, 15, St Margaret’s Girls’ College, Hong Kong

Police officers shouldn’t use pepper spray, as it can damage people’s eyes. Police could use water cannons instead to keep protesters away. Although spraying both of these things into anyone’s eyes will hurt them, at least water won’t burn and in fact, it doesn’t have to be sprayed in the eyes. Water could be sprayed on the body, and the only harm it will do is make people wet and cold.

Ady Lam, 11, Island School

Police should use pepper spray if protesters have been incredibly violent and are doing misconduct. If they are breaking into buildings, not listening to police orders to stop (when the police are justified), then it’s fine. But other techniques could include more police supervision at protests. That way, the people would feel more pressure to behave.

Tiffany Lim,12,Tak Nga secondary School

It’s not right for police to pepper spray protesters, because according to the basic law, those protestors have the freedom of speech. Besides a police officer’s duty is to protect the city’s citizens, not to harm them. I think that the protesters who get unruly or cause violence and damage should be fined a large amount of money, or sent to jail for a short period of time.

Joy Tribiana Egie Villadoz, 15, St Margaret’s Girls’ College, Hong Kong

Police should not use pepper spray on protesters. It’s an act of violence that could injure them badly. Rather than inappropriately controlling the crowd, the police should guide them to a peaceful assembly. The crowd, for their part, should share their opinions calmly, instead of protesting.


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At what age should Hong Kong students start receiving sex education at school?

We are now accepting your answers for this topic. To take part, email your answer with your name, age, and school, along with a nice, clear selfie (make sure it’s not blurry), to yp@scmp.com by lunchtime on Monday. Don’t forget to include “Talking Points” in the subject line.

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Should police use pepper spray on protesters?

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