Hong Kong police have obtained an injunction banning obstruction, damaging and defacing of 21 Disciplined Services, made up of various forces, and Police Married Quarters.
The order came after more than four months of mass protests over a now-soon-to-be-withdrawn extradition agreement proposal with China, the police’s handling of the crisis, as well as calls for democracy and amnesty for those arrested since June.
The Department of Justice (DoJ) said that since August, there have been repeated instances of large crowds targeting police officers and their families at various quarters.
It said that, for instance, six petrol bombs, two paint bombs, two acid bombs and other hard objects were hurled into the Sheung Shui Police Married Quarters on October 5. Protesters have also repeatedly targeted Wong Tai Sin Disciplined Services Quarters because it was next to a police station.
“Such escalating illegal acts have caused serious harassment and inconvenience to the residing officers of Police and other disciplinary forces as well as other tenants of the Quarters, endangering their personal safety and even resulting in mental distress. Facilities of the Quarters were also severely damaged,” the DoJ said in a statement.
The DoJ said the risk of reoccurrence was high and thus it applied for the injunction after police sought its assistance. It was granted by Mr Justice Anderson Chow of the Court of First Instance on Monday night.
The injunction prohibits obstructing roads to the quarters; damaging or defacing of quarters; entering any part of the quarters without prior authorisation; interfering with the use and enjoyment of the quarters by the residents.
It also bans inciting, aiding or abetting any person in doing such acts.
Legal sector lawmaker Dennis Kwok said the move was unnecessary because the acts were already punishable by existing legislations.
“The objective is to enlarge the privilege of the police force, which will result in more conflict between residents and the police,” he said.
Meanwhile, qualified off-duty police officers will be allowed to carry pepper spray from Tuesday onwards, according to unnamed sources cited by RTHK. Only trained officers would be allowed to carry pepper spray when off-duty, the source added.
Icarus Wong, a member of the NGO Civil Rights Observer, told Apple Daily that officers have often abused their right to use batons and pepper spray at recent protests. He added that they have often failed to display any identification numbers on their uniforms.
“If residents get unreasonably pepper-sprayed, it would be even harder to trace the identity of the officer if they are off-duty,” he said.
Wong said that the police have yet to reveal its guidelines on their use of force.
“Confrontations between police and residents cannot be resolved by officers carrying more weapons,” he said.
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