Anti-riot body armor developed by Guangzhou Weifu Science & Technology Development from its promotional video. (Photo: GT)
The Hong Kong police have reportedly ordered 500 anti-riot body armor suits that can obstruct knives and even guns, according to their maker.
Some of the armor has been dispatched to three district police stations. The rest will arrive gradually, Shanghai-based Guancha.com reported, citing Hong Kong media reports.
The newly developed body armor was developed by Guangzhou Weifu Science & Technology Development, a company based in Gunagzhou, South China's Guangdong Province.
Each suit reportedly cost HK$5,000 ($673).
An employee at the company confirmed the sale with Global Times reporters on Monday, but declined to reveal further details. He requested anonymity.
Another employee told the Global Times in an undercover interview later on Monday that the armor in question was out of stock, but "it is not convenient to provide detailed specification about the armor."
The armor is lighter than previous suits used by the police and so will improve officers' speed and defense abilities, the reports said.
Thanks to the body armor, police officers are less likely to be hurt by knives, bumps, flammable objects and bullets, the reports said.
The company claims on its official website that it undertook 15 projects for the Ministry of Public Security including producing anti-riot body armor, explosive manipulator and other anti-riot equipment.
Guangzhou Weifu products are also exported to countries including Israel, Iraq, Morocco and Jordan.
Hong Kong police usually order equipment from Western countries, Tang Fei, a member of the council of the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macao Studies, told the Global Times on Monday.
Tang said that this provides an opportunity for integration of policing practice between police officers from the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR).
Hong Kong police's sudden ordering equipment from the mainland also reflects that Western countries are likely putting an embargo on exporting anti-riot equipment to Hong Kong police. It also signals Western countries' interference with Hong Kong affairs, and can be counted as an incitement of protesters' using of violence, Tang noted.
Protests have entered their 12th consecutive week and radical protesters used lethal weapons including explosives, bows and arrows, grenade launchers and hammers to attack the police, putting mounting physical and psychological pressure on Hong Kong police officers.
Take Sunday night as an example, violent protesters used iron sticks and other weapons to attack police officers; some threw Molotov cocktail at police.
Twenty-one police officers were injured during weekend clashes, according to Hong Kong police. One officer was stabbed in the back by protesters, the police said.