Top officials have leapt to the defence of police officers who fired 13 shots as they chased kidnappers through crowded streets on Wednesday. Secretary for Security Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee rejected criticism in newspaper editorials that the shooting by police had been excessive, saying the officers had taken the safety of passers-by into account. 'Shooting took place in two locations, but each time the suspects fired at the officers first,' Mrs Ip said. 'Inevitably, the officers must return shots in these circumstances.' Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa praised the police for their quick reaction to the kidnapping and denied public order had deteriorated recently. 'The police reacted quickly and were very successful,' Mr Tung said. 'The fortunate ending was the result of good co-operation between police and the public.' Businessman So Chak-tong, 80, and his driver were abducted on Wednesday morning by two men who bundled them into their car outside Mr So's home in Verbena Road, Kowloon Tong. Officers exchanged shots with the suspects in Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, and again in an alley in Hillwood Road during a pursuit that closed roads for hours. One officer, Sergeant Choi Kan-wai, 45, was slightly injured during the gunfight, while shops and a bus were hit by stray bullets. Sergeant Choi was discharged from hospital yesterday, while his driver was uninjured. The suspects escaped, but three men - a mainlander and two Macau residents aged 20 to 30 - were arrested later on board a ferry about to leave for Macau. One suspect was said to have left an identity document in a taxi during his escape, which enabled police to make the swift arrests. Mrs Ip also said the quick response by the police in their chase of the suspects was 'very satisfactory'. 'Once the police got a report of the kidnapping, they started a Hong Kong-wide hunt. Their vehicles were everywhere searching for the target,' she said. Chief Superintendent Charles Wong Doon-yee, of the Police Public Relations Bureau, said on a radio programme that every bullet fired would be investigated, but an initial review suggested the frontline officers had exercised restraint and shown consideration for public safety. Mr Wong said the officers were trying to stop the armed suspects fleeing and causing further danger to the public. He confirmed that the suspects fired six shots. Democratic Party lawmaker James To Kun-sun agreed the officers had no choice but to return fire. 'Where the suspects fled was not for the police to decide. When they fired at the officers, they also demonstrated they did not consider people's lives,' Mr To said. 'Officers simply had no choice but to fire back in order to protect their own safety and public safety. Firing at the suspects could prevent them hurting others.'