Hong Kong’s police have suspended a motorcycle officer who appeared to drive into a crowd of black-clad protesters in Kwai Fong on Monday morning during citywide unrest.
In footage shared online, a police officer is seen veering the bike towards the group three times before taking off. He was followed by at least four other officers on foot.
Hong Kong has been shaken by multi-district unrest as protesters attempted to disrupt the morning commute as part of a plan to mobilise a mass general strike. They urged students to boycott classes, business owners to close shops and employees to skip work, in keeping with the city’s 24 weeks of civil resistance calling for democratic reform and accountability for the police handling of the ongoing crisis.
In Kwai Fong, protesters erected roadblocks near the Metroplaza shopping mall.
At a 4pm press conference, Police Public Relations Branch Chief Superintendent John Tse said that an officer had temporarily lost his vision after protesters sprayed an unknown substance in his face. His colleague on the motorcycle reacted by driving into the protesters, Tse said.
“[The motorcyclist] tried to separate his colleagues and the rioters. According to the officer, he was attacked with hammers and punched while driving,” he said.
Tse said the motorcyclist had been suspended from frontline duties and was put on mandatory leave. The case is being investigated by police officers at the New Territories headquarters.
“Any conduct that violates internal rules will be handled seriously by the police,” he said.
Demonstrators had vowed to escalate their tactics following the death of 22-year-old Alex Chow Tsz-lok on Friday, who succumbed to serious injuries sustained from a fall in a car park. Police had been conducting dispersal operations of a protest nearby at the time of the incident, though the cause of Chow’s fall remains unclear.
A male protester was shot by a police officer using live ammunition in Sai Wan Ho, sparking more protests in places such as Central and Mong Kok.
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