Legislative Council elections 2016

Hong Kong police chief says force can handle election unrest as three officers hurt in poll scuffle

Violence broke out among supporters of two rival radical candidates in Kowloon West; three officers injured as they tried to stop confrontation

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 24 August, 2016, 8:41pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 24 August, 2016, 10:55pm

Police chief Stephen Lo Wai-chung gave an assurance that the force had enough manpower to handle any unrest in the upcoming Legislative Council polls.

However, this came as three police officers were injured trying to end clashes among radical groups in Kowloon City on Tuesday night.

Speaking at a meeting of Tuen Mun District Council on Wednesday, Lo said the force was well prepared for the city’s elections on September 4 and had collected intelligence to see if anyone planned to cause trouble.

“We have also assessed the risk level [during the election period]. We will keep a close eye on whether there will be clashes between parties with opposite political views,” said Lo. “We have enough manpower.”

The Post reported earlier that an additional 2,000 officers in five regional response teams drawn largely from the elite Police Tactical Unit and Emergency Units would be on standby for any violence when more than 3.7 million voters have the chance to cast their ballots at 595 polling stations.

The Hong Kong National Party and Hong Kong Indigenous, which both had candidates disqualified due to their pro-independence stance, denied they had any plans to disrupt the polls.

Meanwhile, rallies by some 50 supporters of two rival Kowloon West candidates turned violent outside the venue of an election forum in Kowloon City shortly after 10pm on Tuesday.

Supporters of Jonathan Ho Chi-kwong of Hong Kong Localism Power reportedly traded jeers with supporters of incumbent Wong Yuk-man of the Proletariat Political Institute.

A policeman was hit in the face by one protester, while another two officers injured their hands and chest when they used pepper spray to try to disperse the crowd. The injured officers were sent to Queens Elizabeth hospital for treatment.

The force condemned the violence.

Radial groups Civic Passion, which supports Wong, and People Power and the League of Social Democrats, which back Ho, were also involved.

“It was an ugly scene. They had many people, some of whom wore masks. The car sent there to drive Ho home was damaged, with many scratch marks left. We have reported it to the police,” said Andrew To Kwan-hang, an activist from the League of Social Democrats and a supporter of Ho.

No one has been arrested .

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