Hong Kong police officer shares his thoughts & experience from anti-extradition protests

By September 26, 2019Current

TL;DR – “We have the confidence to overcome difficulties and give everyone a safe life.”

The anti-extradition protests in Hong Kong have crossed a hundred days, and the protesters do not look like they are going to stop any time soon. The bill has already been withdrawn in early September, but it was not enough to stop the protests.

The anger and unhappiness run way deeper than the bill.

“Housing and people’s livelihoods are the main priorities”

I can empathize with the situation the Hong Kong youths are in, particularly with the employment and housing issues.

Hong Kong’s housing prices are so high that it’s practically off the charts as you can see in the chart in the Facebook post below. It is not hard to understand their youths’ sense of hopelessness for their future.

Then two weeks ago, Hong Kong Chief Executive, Carrie Lam, said, “Housing and people’s livelihoods are the main priorities.”

She added, “The government will add to housing supply measures which will be continuously put in place and not missed.

The Hong Kong leader said in a Facebook post on Thursday (Sept 12)  that the Hong Kong government would increase the supply of housing, and more policies will be announced in due course.

And there’s more positive news out today.

One of the top five real estate developers in Hong Kong, New World Development, has committed to donating almost a fifth of its farmland reserves towards building public homes to ease Hong Kong’s housing woes. This works out to 3 million square feet of farmland to Hong Kong’s government and toward charity for building public homes. Te first part of the donation, comprising 28,000 square feet of land next to the Tin Shui Wai subway station, will be turn into 100 three-story homes measuring 300 square feet by 2022.

However, the total housing solution needs more than just one developer’s donation. The Hong Kong government will likely need to explore new sources of income to finance its budget since it has been relying on land sales to developers to sustain its budget every year. For decades, the biggest revenue source was the sale of public land to developers for building homes, factories or shopping centres.

Without the big chunk of income from the property market, how can the government support its expenses?

But with Hong Kong’s low tax structure, it does need to be more creative to find new income sources and not be overly reliant on just one source. Other sources of fiscal income will be needed to spend on infrastructure, education, health and public services. You can read more about this here.

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The Hong Kongers are still angry

I do not envy Carrie Lam the position she is in, and the decisions she has to make, the political will she has to muster. It does not look like it will be an easy road ahead, and meanwhile, people are still angry and the protests are still happening.

While housing is one of the very major factors causing the unrest in Hong Kong, there is apparently “an intricate web of other problems may have to be addressed” and “stories of protesters reflect that meeting all five demands may not end the impasse.”

But I cannot really understand how the extent of that anger can be justified into acts of violence and also intruding into other people’s freedom of movement and action.

The distrust and anger towards the Hong Kong Police has also thrown me into confusion, even if I’ve made the effort to read news and watch clips from all sides. I suppose at the end of the day, the majority of the protesters just want their voices heard and to trigger change, and the majority of the Hong Kong policemen just want to ensure everyone is safe. That said, there’re probably bad eggs on both sides. But the international, particularly Western, media seems to be particularly skewed in their reporting, preferring to take the side of the protesters.

There has also been much talk about foreign interference and even more direct acts like providing training, equipment and yes, funding (from NED).

So what is what, and what is real? I suppose in time, things will become clearer.

For now, I am just hoping for the Hong Kong protests to come to a peaceful end and that there will be some workable solutions for the various challenges that Hong Kong faces.

Anyway, since there is no reason to expect the Hong Kong anti-extradition protests to stop anytime soon, I’ll like to share something that Hong Konger Tony Kwok has posted on Quora.

Kwok had come across an article in Chinese written by a frontline police officer. In this article, this police officer shared some advice and tips about what Hong Kongers can do to stop the rioters from destroying their previously vibrant and peaceful Hong Kong.

Thanks, Tony, for the translation and also for the permission to repost this so that more people outside of Hong Kong can read this too.

What can HK do to stop the rioters from destroying a society that had been peaceful without their intervention and months of crimes?

 

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A few days ago, I read the following article in Chinese. It is written by a frontline police officer. The suggestions are not only genuine, but also practical for everyone of us. That’s why I translate it into English and put it up here. I hope Quorans in Hong Kong and those who sincerely care about this city may read this.

Regarding how we can support the Hong Kong Police, here are some suggestions to everyone:

1) Stay away from places where thugs gather

There have been many times when the violent mob is driven away by the police, they will go towards a group of ordinary citizens. After passing a few blocks, they will hide, change their black shirts and dress up as “friendly neighbours”. Then, they will start insulting the police.

At this point, the police can only react passively as they do not want to do harm to any innocent ones. they can only stand guard in front of the crowd and swallow all the humiliations.

So I hope that everyone could avoid these places where conflicts occur. By doing so, the police do not have too much hesitation when they work.

2) Avoid direct conflict with the mobs

With the help from the media, the police is always on a tough situation.

The reporters are literally standing on the way of the police. Why the heck they need to stand there?

Whenever there is conflicts, the news will only cover how the regular people are beating the “peaceful protesters”. Even though the police knows the mobs are the brutal bunch, the reporters will instead challenge them on why the regular people are not arrested.

3) Support the police at the right time

In peaceful situations, when you pass by the police officers who are standing guard, praise them gently and softly. It is to let them know that THEY HAVE YOUR SUPPORT even in such difficult moments.

Many of them have been insulted by the mobs for several hours or more. Hopefully, this can sooth their stress.

4) Record the mobs in safe situations

Since most of the news reporters only film the police’s actions, it causes an illusion to the public that the police has been using unreasonably excessive force.

Therefore, if you can take pictures and videos safely from your window side at home, please record their whole actions.

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(Tony: Apple Daily accused 40 police officers brutally beat up a faint man in a dark lane. Luckily someone above recorded the whole incidents.)

 

I know Whatsapp does not support the police to use it as a public channel for gathering evidence, but I still hope that you can keep the clips. If your footages record the moment of serious crimes, please hand them to the nearest police station. Whether you are willing to testify or not, these clips may still be helpful on proofing the police’s innocence.

(Tony: Consider Whatsapp is an instant message service owned by Facebook, such move seems highly suspicious to me.)

5) Use a first-person perspective to explain the real Hong Kong situation to the world

The foreign media tends to report only the actions of the police while turning a blind eye on the violent mobs. It often causes foreign friends to believe that the Hong Kong police has been suppressing the pro democracy protesters.

 

If you share some actual facts regarding the situations to your foreign friends, I believe many of them are familiar with the toxic nature of fake news, and will thus sympathize with the Hong Kong police. Furthermore, by showing support, other countries may need to think twice before interfering the internal affairs of Hong Kong and China.

(Tony: That’s why I have been relatively active on Quora recently.)

6) Encourage the children to seek the truth

Some teachers in Hong Kong use the convenience of their profession to spread propaganda to children.

 

Some even turn morality inside out so that children lose the ability to distinguish between right and wrong.

Everyone should spend more time to talk with their children at home. And keep them away from politics.

 

 

 

This is the insight I have gained from my work since June.

It is the duty of the police to restore law and order. We do not want to see people being injured due to combating the mobs.

 

Please leave the responsibility for stopping crimes to the Hong Kong Police Force. We have the confidence to overcome difficulties and give everyone a safe life.

Click here for the original version in Chinese.

 

(Featured image via)

 

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Gabrielle Teo

Author Gabrielle Teo

I read lots, and I also spend an indecent amount of time trying to get my mostly unpopular opinions published. Oh, I argue a lot with fellow Singaporeans who complain incessantly about Singapore too.

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