The basic premise of the rule of law is that no one is above the law, and the police have a lawful duty to stop and arrest someone who breaks it, a senior police officer from China's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region told a UN human rights body on Monday.
During the 43rd session of the UN Human Rights Council, Oscar Kwok, deputy commissioner of the Hong Kong Police Force, said Hong Kong used to be one of the safest cities in the world and an ideal place to work and live in, where crime rates were extremely low by international standards.
But since June 2019, Hong Kong has been held hostage by rioting mobs with their brand of activism, characterized by their intolerance for views different from their own and their trademark response to any disagreement -- violence, Kwok said.
Violent mobs have vandalized shops, banks, restaurants, train stations and traffic lights, set fires to buildings, and attacked police officers with bricks, knives, petrol bombs, and even genuine firearms and explosives, he said.
He told the council that the mobs also viciously assaulted innocent citizens who did not support them.
Kwok also said that he has seen "a comprehensive effort to vilify the Hong Kong police," because the police are "the only force that physically stood in the way" of those who sought to extort their demands from the government through mob violence.
"It was the Hong Kong police which had the unenviable task of preserving the citizens' rights and freedoms," he said.