Hong Kong police again on Tuesday called for social order to be restored at a press conference, amid increasing tension between the police and protesters.
Many innocent residents and visitors to Hong Kong have been unfairly affected by protesters' violent actions, said Tse Chun-chung, chief superintendent of the Hong Kong Police Public Relations Branch.
"I hope the public can understand that the police use force as a means to contain the violent situation and always uses force with restraint. We never wish to see any injury or casualties," said Tse.
"If you still believe in peaceful, rational, and non-violent expression of speech, I appeal to you to cut ties with all rioters; we appeal to you to not let violence become a new norm. Please join us to restore the order of society," said Tse.
He said 171 police officers were recently injured.
Among the officers, two are still hospitalized and 15 sustained eye injuries caused by laser beams, added the Hong Kong official.
Recent protests have had a huge impact on our regular work and our service to the residents, and we found recently some residents are not friendly to officers, said Tse.
"For example, some residents use laser beams to point to the officers and when officers were exercising their duties, they were besieged by some residents……In another case, some residents use water bombs to damage the window of police car and hurt the police."
He said the police understand some residents have their own demands but they should consider more thoroughly. The police also suggested Hong Kong residents stay in safe places and not take part in or watch the demonstrations.
A child visits Central Police Station to express her support for the police force in Hong Kong, China, August 10, 2019. (Xinhua Photo)
Police say they're restrained while protesters' violence escalates
Hong Kong police have come under fire over their handling of the current crisis.
On July 14, in a major clash with the police in a shopping mall, one of the protesters, a 22-year-old college graduate, bit off the finger of a police officer.
The attacker was bailed two days later with only a restraining order to stay away from potential protest locations, despite prosecutors' strong request he be detained.
The officer was hospitalized. Doctors say they have reattached the finger, but there may be permanent nerve damage.
The Chief Inspector of Hong Kong police earlier told CGTN that some Western media are demonizing law enforcement officers, when actually police are exercising great restraint.
"They're only showing to the public that what the police is doing and only videoing all the police actions. They will never show the public what the other side is doing. This creates a huge pressure to all the police. And I think it's not fair to us," said Wilkie Ng.
"Compared to other international law enforcement agencies, Hong Kong police are the only agencies using so constrained level of force. We have not used any live ammo. The only level of force of weapons we have used were OC foam, rubber rounds....And they're not lethal," said the inspector.