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Source: Hong Kong Information Services

Masked rioters hijacked the January 1 public procession and committed alarming acts of vandalism.

Police Public Relations Branch Chief Superintendent Kwok Ka-chuen made the statement during today’s press conference.

Mr Kwok explained that even though the procession began in a peaceful manner, many people were apprehended.

“Even before the event began at around 2.20pm, Police made several arrests for possession of offensive weapons. A teenager as young as 13 years old was found to possess an extendable baton and hammer.

“This indeed as a bad omen for the public event that followed. Masked rioters hijacked the procession and started to cause trouble soon after the procession started.”

Mr Kwok added that throughout the day, rioters blocked roads, smashed traffic lights, vandalised shops and banks, and launched attacks on police officers with petrol bombs and different weapons.

“In one of the most alarming cases, rioters spray-painted offensive words on the outer wall of the High Court to insult a judge. This kind of attack will make a dent in the spirit of the law and threaten the independence of the Judiciary.

“Some other rioters set fire to the lion statues of a bank and vandalised its facilities. They also ransacked targeted coffee shops that were unsupportive of their illegal acts.

“It is very ironic that these rioters claim to be fighting for freedom but are depriving others of their freedom to do business in Hong Kong.”

Mr Kwok then reiterated that police officers did not commit any destructive acts and described such accusations as a smear campaign.

“The most despicable thing is the supporters of these rioters took press interviews and accused Police of committing such destructive acts.

“They made up false accounts to smear Police and confuse the public. We strongly rebut such allegations as totally false and groundless.

“What’s worse, some unethical media quoted these rumour-mongers and spread fake news. This is an organised and ill-intentioned smear campaign to discredit Police and jeopardise our operational efficiency.”

MIL OSI Asia Pacific News