Several police units – including the Special Tactical Squad which specialises in suppressing rowdy protests – will be on alert on September 4, the day of the Legislative Council elections, according to a report by local newspaper Apple Daily.
The weeks leading up to the elections have seen incidents such as the sudden dropout by a pro-Beijing candidate, reports on possible poll fraud, and the banning of pro-independence candidates which sparked protests and a rally.
An internal memo ordering almost all police officers in Hong Kong not to take leave during the period of September 3 to 5 has been issued by the senior management in the force, Apple Daily reported on Friday. Apart from having one to two police officers guard the polling stations, each police regions’ quick reaction force and emergency unit – in charge of dealing with mass gatherings and tackling violence respectively – are also to be on alert, with three-quarters of the emergency unit patrolling and on standby, according to sources cited by the paper.
The Special Tactical Squad has also been ordered to stand by at the the Wan Chai Police Headquarters, to be called upon in the event that a large-scale conflict occurs. The squad had been summoned during the unrests in Mong Kok that broke out over the government’s clearing of street hawkers in February.
A spokesperson for the police said that they will stay in contact with the Registration and Electoral Office and will provide assistance to them, as well as make arrangements so as to ensure that election-related activities can be carried out smoothly and in an orderly manner.
The full list of candidates running across districts and constituencies can be viewed here.