Officers honored for efforts to quell violence during protests, riots in SAR
The Hong Kong Police Force will strive to maintain stability and prosperity for the city and closely work with their mainland counterparts in the future, the Hong Kong police chief vowed on Sunday, the nation's first People's Police Day honoring the service and sacrifices of Chinese officers.
On behalf of the city's 30,000-strong police force, Hong Kong Police Commissioner Chris Tang Ping-keung sent a congratulatory letter to the Ministry of Public Security, the nation's principal police and security authority.
Tang said mainland security authorities have been supportive of efforts made over the past year or so by the city's police force in an uphill battle to safeguard national sovereignty, end violence and restore law and order.
As part of China's law enforcement forces, Tang said the Hong Kong Police Force shared the honor with its mainland counterparts as the nation designated Jan 10 to mark officers' contributions to the nation and its people.
At least 483 police officers have been injured during operations to curb riots and violence in the city since June 9, 2019. They have been burned by petrol bombs and corrosive liquid hurled by rioters, or suffered fractures or trauma from bricks or iron bars during the roughly 900 protests that often turned into violent clashes.
More than 10,000 officers, one-third of the total force, are to be awarded a specially designed operation medal in recognition of their efforts to tackle and quell the riots. On Dec 30, Tang presented the medal to 74 officers.
At the invitation of the Guangdong Provincial Public Security Department, the Hong Kong Police Force submitted posters, comics and videos to an exhibition entitled A Tribute to the Guardians of Peace in Guangzhou to celebrate the first People's Police Day.
The artwork demonstrates the Hong Kong police's spirit of "Serving Hong Kong with Honor, Duty and Loyalty", the force said.
Praise for the police
Former Legislative Council president Rita Fan Hsu Lai-tai praised the police for their professionalism and restraint in dealing with long-term social unrest in 2019.
"I have every confidence in our police force," she said, stressing that the force has acted professionally in discharging its duties, including enforcing the National Security Law.
In the most recent case last week, more than 1,000 local police officers participated in a search and arrest operation and detained 55 people on suspicion of subversion under Article 22 of the National Security Law.
The foreign ministers of Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom, as well as the United States Secretary of State, on Sunday criticized the arrests in a joint statement.
In response, a spokesman for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government said it was appalled by "remarks made by some overseas government officials that seemed to suggest that people with certain political beliefs should be immune to legal sanctions."
"The National Security Law, or indeed any law in the HKSAR, applies equally to every person in Hong Kong; no one is above the law," the spokesman said.
The law enforcement agencies are duty-bound to take action against unlawful acts, regardless of the political backgrounds of the suspects, the spokesman added.