Hong Kong’s largest police group issued a statement on Monday justifying officers’ use of live ammunition in response to protesters hurling Molotov cocktails, or petrol bombs, at them.
The statement came after a largely peaceful, although illegal, march on Hong Kong Island on Sunday suddenly erupted into clashes involving anti-government protesters, pro-Beijing supporters and police.
The letter, submitted by the Junior Police Officers’ Association, stated that when rioters engage in “potentially deadly attacks”, officers are required to respond with “corresponding force or weapons to stop it, including live ammunition”.
Protesters set fire to barricades on Sunday and pro-Beijing activists attacked their black-clad opponents on the streets of Hong Kong Island. In one instance, officers drew their guns as a warning to protesters who threw petrol bombs from close range.
Meanwhile, more than 50 students from two neighbouring secondary schools in Tai Wai chanted anti-government slogans and sang protest songs together in their school corridors yesterday.
At their peak, more than 100 students turned out during recess time, filling three corridors and one floor of Pok Oi Hospital Chan Kai Memorial College and Lok Sin Tong Young Ko Hsiao Lin Secondary School, respectively, a Form Five student, who did not wish to be named, told Young Post.
Students were chanting slogans such as “Five Demands, Not One Less”, and “Liberate Hong Kong; Revolution of Our Times”, the 16-year-old said. They also sang protest songs, including Glory to Hong Kong and Do You Hear the People Sing? Some were also seen holding the hands of dolls such as Pepe the Frog and Winnie The Pooh.
“We sang two [Cantonese] anti-police protest songs as well. There’s a police station in our neighbourhood, and we wanted to show the officers our dissatisfaction towards the force’s abuse of power,” he added.
The protest has been held on both campuses since last Thursday, and the students plan to hold it during school times indefinitely. This is despite the schools’ opposition to any form of class boycott or propaganda on campus.
But the student expressed concern that the protest might be losing its popularity.
“There were much fewer students participating this week than last week, when the peak turnout was more than 200 students,” he said, adding that “some students might have blindly followed their peers to join the previous demonstrations”.
On the same day, about 60 students of two neighbouring schools in Siu Sai Wan district held a similar protest in school during lunch time, and sang Glory to Hong Kong together for the first time. The student rally took place at the sky garden on the fourth, fifth and sixth floors of The Methodist Church Hong Kong Wesley College, and the corridors of Lingnan Hang Yee Memorial Secondary School.
According to the local newspaper Apple Daily, students from six schools in Tiu Keng Leng also teamed up to form a human chain and chanted slogans on Monday morning.
South Korean actor Kim Ui-seong, who starred in Train to Busan, was at the scene to support the students. The active supporter of the anti-government protests live-streamed the event on his Instagram account for five minutes.
According to local media, more than 100 students from Hong Kong Baptist University’s (HKBU) Communication Society marched on campus on Monday at 2.25pm to show their solidarity for a student who was arrested on Sunday.
This came after a student reporter of Broadcast News Network (BNN), an online news platform shared by HKBU students majoring in journalism, was arrested by the police for alleged possession of offensive weapons.
Some students broke the glass window of the president’s office using bricks, while some spray-painted the CCTV camera, according to RTHK.
The student protesters later released a statement on the BNN Facebook page calling for four demands: a response from the university’s president, Roland Chin Tai-hong, on the student’s arrest; the school’s provision of academic, legal, and financial support for the arrested student; for the school to condemn Hong Kong Police Force’s alleged abuse of power, indiscriminate arrest, and their suppression of freedom of the press; and a promise from the school to protect students’ personal safety during studies.
The student who was arrested was found to be carrying a table knife in his backpack after being stopped and searched at the junction of King’s Road and Fortress Hill Road on Sunday, according to a post on BNN’s facebook page. “The student claimed that he was carrying it for cutting mooncakes, but he was still brought into a private car by police officers ... The police also refused to let us film the bag search, using concerns for individual privacy as a reason,” the post added.