Up to 250 frontline police deployed during the Mong Kok riot have been recommended for internal awards, including the officer who controversially fired two live rounds in the air, the South China Morning Post has learnt. The top honour is likely to go to Sergeant Wong Lok-on, who suffered skull and cheekbone fractures during clashes with protesters on the first night of the Lunar New Year. He has been recommended for a “red lanyard” to be presented by Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying at Government House. It is understood the force is drafting a list for commendations to reward frontline officers for their “devotion to duty” during the bloody clashes on February 8 and 9. A police source told the Post four officers were nominated for a “lanyard in four colours” – a commendation by the police commissioner for “outstanding work” that went “beyond the call of duty”. One of the four is the traffic policeman from Kowloon West who fired two shots in the air to protect his colleagues under attack by a violent mob. Also on that list is an injured colleague who was seen lying on the ground while being set upon by protesters armed with bricks, glass bottles and wooden boards “Top management does not object to the idea of awarding the traffic cop with the lanyard. After all, his shots had been justified,” the source told. “His decision showed extraordinary courage, as he was to save his colleagues whose lives were under threat.” While critics have questioned the justification for the officer to draw his weapon and open fire, the police force has said the circumstances left him with no alternative. More than 100 officers were wounded that night in Mong Kok. Wong was the most seriously injured among them. Commendation adds an advantage in future promotion. If everyone has it, what’s the value? A police source The source said the remaining officers were recommended for merit certificates from their commanding officers. He viewed the commendations as an attempt to appease the frontline officers and said they could undermine their value. “Some of them deserve the merits. But we also notice an increasing number of commendations have been dished out in recent years,” the source continued. “Commendation adds an advantage in future promotion. If everyone has it, what’s the value?” It is understood that top brass are still reviewing the number of commendations and might cut them down. A massive number of commendations were handed out after the 79-day Occupy protests in 2014. The Post has learnt that more than 1,300 officers received merits from their commanding officers, while another 50 were awarded with a lanyard in four colours. An internal review of the way the riot was handled is still under way, but the source said it would not clash with the awards. In the latest development, it is understood that many in the force blamed Chief Superintendent Crusade Yau Siu-kei, acting Mong Kok district commander that night, for underestimating the situation. He will be moved to another position.