September 12, 2019

GLENN’S MAIL BAG: A longtime Instapundit reader who has lived in Hong Kong for several years reports from the front lines:

I went to two demonstrations last week.

Students held a protest in front of Legco last Monday and Tuesday and about 10,000 students showed up. They arrived around 4 pm and left around 8 pm leaving it as clean and neat as when they had arrived. I noticed one think that wasn’t there – policemen. Didn’t see a single police officer and it went off without a hitch – completely peaceful.

On Sunday, I went to the protest in front of the US Consulate. I think I only saw two police officers there. But I did see hundreds upon hundreds of paramilitary troops there. They had not only pistols but rifles (presumably with rubber bullets, beanbags and tear gas). They were decked out in full body armour, shields, helmets with mirrored face masks, no nametags and no ID numbers.

The march was loud but peaceful and the proceeded past the FCC and back down to Central where people were then going home via the MTR. Then three knucklehead supposedly were causing problems. Rather than arrest the three, put them in a paddywagon and send them off to the police station, they shut down the entire MTR station. They then chased those protesting to Wanchai, where they proceeded to shut down that station. They then chased them to Causeway Bay where they started shooting off tear gas and throwing tear gas even in places where there were no protesters (but plenty of media).

I would note that no damage was done anywhere by protesters until AFTER the MTR stations were shut down. I suspect that the Police did this on purpose. Rather than de-escalate and disburse the protesters at the end of the day, the police intentionally aggravated and incited the protesters. Why? To de-legitimize the protest to the US Consulate. To put the protesters in a bad light making them all appear “violent.” To discourage future protests by giving the appearance that if you show up at a protest, you’ll encounter violence.

How much tear gas did the Hong Kong Police fire between 1967 and 2014 (a period of 47 years)? ZERO.

But in the past three months, the police have fired off over 2,000 rounds of tear gas along with numerous bean bag projectiles and rubber bullets. The Hong Kong police gave training for years to the UK and elsewhere in how to deal with and de-escalate protests. Then about a decade ago, the Police decided to start sending their forces to China for “training.” Since then, the policy has moved from a de-escalation policy to a one of intimidation and fear.

There have been those that note that food requisitions have escalated much higher in the past couple of months, with many now speculating that Chinese PAP troops are now part of the HK Police Raptors Forces.

In sum, the Hong Kong Police of today are nowhere close to the Hong Kong Police of 10, 20 or 30 years ago. I completely sympathize with the average beat police officer today. But top management has decided to gear up a paramilitary force within the larger Police Force and use them liberally and with impunity.

This is not your father’s Hong Kong Police Force, and it is a very sad turn for the worse.

Indeed.

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