Police defend officer who drew pistol

PUBLISHED : Friday, 08 July, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 08 July, 2011, 12:00am


Police say an officer who drew his pistol when an emotional woman brandished a pair of scissors at him in Wan Chai on Wednesday was complying with police force guidelines.

A 45-year-old man and a 37-year-old woman were granted bail yesterday after being arrested for allegedly assaulting a police officer and possessing a dangerous weapon. Their car was also released after an investigation, with the case being handled by the Wan Chai district crime squad.

The officer stopped a car near Harcourt Road on Wednesday evening after finding that the driver was not wearing a seat belt. He also suspected that an illegal device was installed on the car.

The officer directed the car to Performing Arts Avenue and issued a ticket to the driver. But the woman passenger suddenly became emotional and pointed a pair of 30cm-long scissors at the officer. The man also pushed the officer.

The officer gave a verbal warning but when that did not quieten the couple, he drew his pistol. He then put it back in his holster.

He also drew his baton as the couple shouted at him. The man recorded the confrontation on video.

A police spokesman said the officer drew his pistol in circumstances that suggested he might face serious bodily harm, which is allowed under the police general order.

Gary Wong Ching, chairman of the Junior Police Officers' Association, said: 'The principle for drawing guns is to protect anyone, including officers themselves or other residents, from bodily injuries and threats, and to prevent serious crime from happening.'

He said the force keeps a record whenever an officer draws a gun, and the officer needs to make a verbal or written explanation to senior officers.

Wong said pressure was mounting among frontline officers because more people were taking videos to show officers in the act of handling cases and uploading them to the internet with negative comments. 'Very often a voice-over contains offensive and foul language,' he said.

There was a popular series of videos on YouTube called 'extremely hideous', showing officers on duty with offensive voice-overs, he said. A brief search of the keyword on the video website yielded 18,000 results.

He urged people not to vent grudges against officers in this way.

'We do not want to promote violence and mislead teenagers into thinking that scolding police officers is something right to do,' Wong said. 'Hong Kong will not be an orderly city if no one respects law-enforcing officers.'