Former police deputy commissioner brought out of retirement to deal with HK protests set to leave force under ‘improved situation’

30-Oct-2019 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 6:02 AM Print This Post

Former deputy commissioner Alan Lau Yip-shing, who was brought out of retirement in August to tackle Hong Kong’s escalating protest crisis in an unexpected emergency move, is set to leave the force on Thursday.

A police spokesman on Monday said Lau made the decision amid an “improved” situation as the unrest in the city, sparked by the now-withdrawn extradition bill, entered its fifth month.

Lau, a respected veteran with a tough reputation, was appointed to the temporary post of deputy commissioner on special duty to “enhance strategic command and oversee public order events”.

Chief Superintendent John Tse Chun-chung from the Police Public Relations Branch said on Monday that Lau’s appointment was projected to stretch for half a year in two three-month blocs and that he had completed the first half of the period.

Riot police raise warning flags in a stand-off with protesters. (South China Morning Post)

Riot police raise warning flags in a stand-off with protesters. (South China Morning Post)

According to a source, Lau’s signed contract would end on Thursday, although he was expected to extend it to six months at the time he was brought in.

Tse added: “As the current situation has improved relative to the previous months, [Lau] thought that there was no need to extend his appointment.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank Lau sir for his contributions over the past three months, and wish him a happy retirement.”

Lau returned to the force on August 9. His main duties were to assist the police commissioner in handling large-scale public order events and steering major operations, including celebratory events for the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, held on October 1, said Tse.

Lau was in charge of the police operation code-named Tiderider to deal with street protests, and he had final say over tactics deployed, the Post was told.

“To pave the way for his departure, Lau has given field commanders a free hand in the past two weeks to deal with street protesters,” the source said.

Hong Kong has been gripped by more than four months of increasingly violent demonstrations that have seen petrol bombs thrown at officers, who have fired tear gas, rubber bullets and other crowd-control weapons in response.

From June 12 to October 27, police have fired about 6,100 rounds of tear gas, 2,400 rubber bullets, 550 beanbag rounds and 700 sponge-tipped rounds at protesters, according to the force.

On Sunday, police fired 88 rounds of tear gas as masked protesters took to the streets in Kowloon, continuing the arson and vandalism against shops thought to have mainland Chinese ties and the MTR Corporation for perceived collusion with police and bowing to Beijing.

From October 21 to 27, police arrested 206 people 148 men and 58 women aged between 12 and 63 for illegal assembly, possession of offensive weapons, possession of tools for illegal purposes, criminal damage, arson, attacking police and wearing masks in public gatherings.



Category: Hong Kong

Print This Post