Commissioner of police of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government, Chris Tang Ping-Keung, said that young people committing crimes had become a trend in the territory amid protests against China.
The police have been called out for their excessive use of forces against the demonstrators in the territory. On Friday itself the police arrested 35 people protesting against China’s plan to impose national security legislation on the territory.
Speaking at a round table organised by the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, Chris Tang Ping-leung last week said that young people committing crimes had become a trend in Hong Kong, which was worrying, Xinhua reported.
In 2019, a total of 4,268 young people were arrested, an increase of more than 50 per cent from 2018. Of the 8,057 people arrested from last June to April 2020, more than 40 per cent were reported as being students, according to Tang.
Hong Kong protesters shot arrows and hurled petrol bombs from a barricaded university on Sunday at police | Photo: Reuters
Tang said that Hong Kong was facing a breakdown of rule of law, with violence lurking in people’s daily lives, which would ultimately threaten national security and Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability.
Tang remarks come as speculation mounts of a new round of debilitating protests could against Beijing’s pending new security law. The police are preparing to quash possible unrest.
According to a South China Morning Post report, under Beijing’s proposal, the Hong Kong government will have to set up new institutions to safeguard national security and also allow mainland Chinese agencies to operate in the city “when needed”. All moves were widely criticized by opposition politicians as a means to suppress dissent.
The legislation has sparked fears that it would undermine the principle of “one country, two systems”, eventually leading to erosion of Hong Kong’s autonomy as stated under the Sino-British joint declaration of 1997.
During the 2019 protests over an extradition bill, the conduct of the Hong Kong police force was a subject of controversy during.
According to the last year report by Washington Post, many in the city’s pro-democracy camp view the Hong Kong police as a means for China’s Communist Party to suppress unrest without resorting to direct intervention that could provoke an international response.
The protests began last year in summer over opposition to a bill that would have allowed extradition from Hong Kong to China. The demonstration morphed into violent protests.
Protesters regularly throw petrol bombs and bricks and have begun vandalizing subway stations and China-linked businesses, as police respond with tear gas and water cannon.