Footage has emerged from Hong Kong which shows police officers accidentally tear-gassing themselves, apparently forgetting about the effects of downwind gusts.
Officers had been trying to tear-gas protesters in the north west town of Sheung Wan. However, this quite literally blew back in their faces.
The footage has been shared by Hong Kong University’s HKU Campus TV Facebook page, and shows the deployed tear gas blowing straight back over police lines.
As civilian unrest rocked the streets of Sheung Wan over the weekend, HKU Campus TV shared a number of videos showing officers firing teargas, rubber bullets and sponge grenades at protesters.
It was alarming to see this sort of force being used against members of the public, and many people have expressed their concerns via the Facebook page.
HKU Campus TV has also captured footage of officers making errors. These gafs included accidentally tear-gassing journalists who were reporting at the scene, as well as forcing their own colleagues to retreat after tear-gassing them.
Such videos have gained widespread public reaction, with many citizens offering their two cents on the competency of the Hong Kong Police. A matter which some believed was already up for debate.
One incredulously commented:
Professional? Is this a police officer who is officially hired?
Another aghast person asked:
What the F?
Posted by Campus TV, HKUSU 香港大學學生會校園電視 on Sunday, July 28, 2019
These videos have emerged amidst a period of civilian unrest in Hong Kong. As reported by The New York Times, tens of thousands of protesters headed to the Yuen Long train station over the weekend to oppose an assault committed by over 100 men the previous Sunday.
This assault, which is alleged to have happened at the station on the night of Sunday, July 21, involved the mob of men attacking anti-government protesters with sticks and metal bars, leaving 45 people injured.
In the following days, many people began to question police officers’ response to the attack; feeling more could have been done to protect the protesters. Some viewed this to be evidence of police collusion with the triads.
And so, on Saturday, July 27, people came out to march in an anti-triad rally in the same area where the assault took place.
Although the protest was initially a peaceful one, matters escalated when officers used tear gas to force protesters off the streets.
As reported by the Hong Kong Free Press, police have said they had no choice but to use tear gas against protesters, with Yolanda Yu, senior superintendent of the police public relations branch, claiming they had set fire to things and chucked bricks.
The violence used by protesters has become more and more aggressive.
Police severely condemn such behaviour which has obviously deviated from the principle of expressing opinions in a peaceful manner. Police reiterate their determination and capability to bring offenders to justice.
However, others have described this use of force as excessive and have criticised officers for making a formal objection to the Saturday protest.
These latest protests follow a wave of activism in Hong Kong which began in early June. The marches began in opposition to – since shelved – draft legislation which would have permitted extraditions to mainland China.
However, the protests quickly expanded, with activists demanding broader democracy and greater police accountability.
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Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.