Explainer: Hong Kong's Tender for Armored Vehicles
The Hong Kong police have invited bids for the supply of three “crowd management vehicles,” also known as anti-riot vehicles, equipped with water cannon.
The three anti-riot vehicles ordered by police will be equipped with at least 15 water cannon each, including two main cannons fixed to the top and able to eject 1,200 liters of water at 1,000 kPa pressure per minute, reaching targets at least 50 meters away, according to the tender documents released on December 31, 2015.
The three vehicles are confirmed to be armored tanks that can carry at least 6,500 liters of water, and 100 liters of foam. Tear gas and coloring agents can be mixed into the water to disperse crowds.
“We have taken international standards and how western countries, including Germany and Belgium, handle demonstrations with violent conflicts as references. We also looked into specifications and usage of their ‘special purpose vehicles’ before deciding on our own ones with adjustments according to Hong Kong’s situation,” said Steven Lo Wai-chung, Commissioner of Police, to local media last week. “When using their vehicles, there will be strict guidelines and trainings, so citizens need not worry. They will be used only when a demonstration is of a certain level of violence.”
The $27 million procurement was approved by Legco in May 2015, sparking concerns among civil rights activists. Ir Albert Lai, founding chairman of The Professional Commons, told Hong Kong EconomicTimes if a water cannon of similar size hits a one-square-inch rock five meters away, it could cause a reflective force of up to 26 pounds. This could cause serious damage to a person’s eyes.
The tender will close on February 26.