Riot Police Repeatedly Pepper Spray Journalists, District Councillors

Civilians initiated a march in Tai Po today, to protest the government’s plans to turn the Tai Po Jockey Club General Out-patient Clinic into a designated coronavirus clinic. Many police officers arrived at the scene, conducting mass searches and mass arrests — black-clad plainclothes officers also participated in mass arrests. Police repeatedly pepper-sprayed civilians and press, and a Stand News reporter was ‘hit’.

In Tai Po today, civilians held a residents assembly, and marched from Tai Po Feng Shui Square to Tai Po Jockey Club General Out-patient Clinic. Before the march began however, armed riot police were already stationed in the area, conducting mass searches on nearby civilians. A police officer shone glaring lights at a journalist’s camera in broad daylight. A woman was issued 3 warnings by a police officer for “aggravating the emotions of the persons at scene”, and was subsequently arrested. District Councillor Man Nim Chi was ‘hit’ in the face with pepper spray, and required medical attention from volunteer medics.

At around 15:00, riot police raised the blue flag at civilians marching past Tai Po Centre. A miscellaneous object was thrown from the civilians’ side; riot police then charged towards them and restrained at least 2 people. Police extensively used pepper spray at the scene, and among many, a Stand News reporter was ‘hit’.

Police General Orders (PGO), Chapter 39, Article 39-05:

All officers at the scene of an incident shall:-

(a) facilitate the work of the news media as much as possible and accord media representatives consideration and courtesy; and

(b) not block camera lenses.

Hong Kong Legislation, Cap. 232A Police (Discipline) Regulations, Part I, Article 3:

(2) The offences against discipline are

(k) unlawful or unnecessary exercise of authority resulting in loss or injury to any other person or to the Government;

Hong Kong Legislation, Cap. 212 Offences against the Person Ordinance, Article 39:

Assault occasioning actual bodily harm

Any person who is convicted of an assault occasioning actual bodily harm shall be guilty of an offence triable upon indictment, and shall be liable to imprisonment for 3 years.