First look at Hong Kong police’s anti-riot vehicle with water cannons as shipment from France arrives
Police proposed buying armoured crowd-control car, manufactured by Mercedes-Benz, in government’s annual budget in 2015 – two months after 79-day Occupy movement ended
The first of three anti-riot vehicles armed with water cannons arrived in Hong Kong on Tuesday morning as exclusive pictures taken by the Post revealed the shipment from France at Kwai Tsing Container Terminals.
The Mercedes-Benz vehicle, designed for crowd control, arrived at the terminal at about 10am, covered by a silver tarpaulin. It was then transported to the commercial vehicle service centre of car dealer Zung Fu, which distributes Mercedes-Benz cars in Hong Kong and Macau. The centre is in the northern New Territories.
A senior police source confirmed the shipment.
The Post reported earlier the first of three controversial armoured cars, each boasting 15 high-pressure cannons, would arrive in the city this month, with the other two vehicles expected to be delivered in the middle of the year.
The anti-riot vehicle, custom-built in France, gives police a new resource to deal with protesters.
The water can be mixed with tear gas, or liquid dye that allows authorities to identify suspects after they have dispersed.
Police proposed buying the cannons in the government’s annual budget of February 2015, two months after the 79-day Occupy movement, a civil disobedience campaign for greater democracy, ended.
A senior police source said that, after post-installation by Zung Fu, the vehicle would go to the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department for examination and adjustments.
It would then be stationed at the headquarters of the Police Tactical Unit in Fanling for training.
The manufacturer would send experts to Hong Kong to coach instructors on how to drive, operate and maintain the cars so other officers can be trained.
Given the time needed for tests and training, the source added, it would be impossible to deploy the vehicle in time for the annual July 1 pro-democracy rally held on the anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to Chinese rule in 1997.
Tender documents for the vehicles show two roof cannons on each car can fire more than 1,200 litres of water per minute over a distance of 50 metres. Six cameras are also installed on each vehicle.
The force was in the process of drafting a manual to designate responsibilities for each team member in the four-seater.
The three vehicles cost a total of HK$16.59 million (US$2.11 million), 38.5 per cent cheaper than the HK$27 million earmarked in the 2015 budget, according to the Government Logistics Department.