Officers are frustrated by their inability to arrest gangsters who abuse them Police officers voiced their frustration yesterday after three incidents at the weekend in which triad members publicly humiliated officers. Some officers said their powers should be extended to allow them to arrest people for verbal abuse, rather than having to stand by helplessly in such circumstances. The debate came after incidents in Tsim Sha Tsui and Yau Ma Tei, in which police who had been called to gang-related crime scenes had insults shouted at them without being able to take any action. In one incident on Saturday, two officers were assaulted when they tried to disperse a gathering of seemingly drunken men. Police reinforcements arrived and arrested two alleged members of the Sun Yee On triad. Police said another member of the group hurled abuse at a police officer, but was not arrested.This was followed by two more incidents in the next 24 hours in which officers were allegedly taunted and abused by suspected gangsters. Commenting on the events yesterday, Police Commissioner Tsang Yam-pui said: 'Hong Kong is ruled by the law. Police represent the law and no one can challenge it.' He said he was confident that his frontline officers were able to deal with any challenges from triad members. But police officers yesterday expressed their feelings on a police Web site, with messages saying that it was time to outlaw the abuse of policemen. The chairman of the Junior Police Officers' Association, Sergeant Lau Kam-wah, welcomed the idea, saying that it would at least have a 'deterrent effect'. 'At present, gangsters are not breaking the law in Hong Kong if they shout abuse at the police. We can only make arrests if they cause public disorder or assault us,' he said. Sergeant Lau said some of the triad members probably had legal consultants to instruct them on how to challenge the police without breaking the law. However, the head of the police public relations bureau, Chief Superintendent Tang How-kong, said the matter was not alarming or urgent. 'The situation is well under control,' he said. In February, police were criticised over their failure to arrest suspected gang members during two well-publicised standoffs in Yau Ma Tei.