Hong Kong police admit 'disguising' themselves in protest, defend action

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Aug 13, 2019, 07.02 AM(IST)

Police officers charge at protesters amid tear gas outside Sham Shui Po police station in Hong Kong, China. Photograph:( Reuters )

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'We won't ask them to stir up trouble, and we won't ask them to conduct illegal act,' Deputy Police Commissioner said.

Hong Kong police on Monday admitted to using undercover officers "disguised" as protestors during the pro-democracy protests over the weekend.  

"I can say that during the time when our police officers were disguised, firstly they would not provoke anything, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Tang Ping-Keung said in a press conference.

"We won't ask them to stir up trouble, and we won't ask them to conduct illegal act," he added.

The semi-autonomous Hong Kong plunged into crisis after protesters took to streets to protest against a bill allowing extradition to the China mainland. The government have scrapped the extradition bill but protests are continuing for as it now turned into a broader movement for democratic reform and halt to eroding freedoms.

On Sunday, Police fired volleys of tear gas Sunday at thousands of pro-democracy protesters who defied warnings from authorities to hit the streets for the tenth weekend in a row. 

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Protesters also faced off against police in the Kwai Fong train station, with the demonstrators using fire extinguishers and a water hose against riot officers who fired tear gas into the terminal.

Scores of protesters were also arrested, sometimes after being beaten with batons and bloodied by police. One young female medic was hospitalised after being hit by a pellet round in the right eye.

Senior superintendent of police public relations branch, Kong Wing-Cheung defending the actions on Monday in the conference said, "At that time, we assessed it as a semi-open station. And then in order to resolve the crisis, as I said just now, we had only fired one tear gas," adding, "we didn't fire the second one when we saw the situation was under control and the protesters weren't attacking."

Meanwhile, Hong Kong airport reopened after unprecedented closure and resumed all flight operations. However, the administrator has still warned flight movements would be affected.

Hong Kong carrier, Cathay Pacific cancelled over 200 flights to and out of the airport on Tuesday, according to its website.

The airport, one of the world's busiest, blamed demonstrators for halting flights on Monday, but the exact trigger for the closure was not clear as protesters occupying the arrivals hall for the past five days have been peaceful.

(With inputs from agencies)