The Hong Kong Police Force pledged on Monday to take necessary measures to handle rioters and sent out a strong warning as a black-clad rioter tried to snatch a gun from a frontline officer during a clash in Tuen Mun on Saturday, and a police association said rioters have lost the bottom line.
A widely circulated video on the internet showed that an officer was making an arrest on Saturday in Tuen Mun when he was attacked by a group of rioters, and one even attempted to snatch his revolver.
The police made arrests after some black-clad rioters blocked roads and set barricades in the neighborhood, damaging facilities at a light rail station and throwing Molotov cocktails at police officers.
Hong Kong society has been suffering from months-long protests, which have escalating into violence.
"Rioters have become more and more reckless, and they have totally lost the bottom line of their acts," Lam Chi-wai, chair of the Junior Police Officers' Association, said in a statement sent to the Global Times on Monday.
Lam said he had heard about rioters inciting others to snatch the gun from police officers to hurt and even kill the frontline officers, and it seemed that criminals eventually put it into action.
In a group chat on Telegram - a popular social network anti-government rioters use--some people teach others how to snatch the gun from the police, the Global Times reporters have learned.
"This was the first time rioters turned online instructions into action," Tse Chun-chung, chief superintendent of police public relations branch, told a press briefing on Monday.
"This is horrifying… rioters are losing their minds," said a local resident in Hong Kong who is closely following the situation.
The police urged the rioters to think about the consequences of such an incident, if rioters successfully grabbed the gun.
"If rioters grab police equipment, including guns, he may be suspected of assaulting police and illegally possessing a weapon, and could be sentenced to life," Superintendent (Operations) Fang Chi-kin said.
"We will have no choice but to make the only and necessary decision if that happens," he said.
Some netizens on Twitter also harshly criticized the act, and called it "complete madness." And a Twitter user, Virus$ Bisnis, said "thug snatching the gun of the police is a serious criminal offense, and the thug must be severely punished in accordance with the law."
The police gun is the "second life" of the police officer on duty, and if it is snatched away, it means his life is not guaranteed, Lam noted.
"Every police officer knows he must do anything to protect his gun. Losing his gun could mean losing his life," he said, urging rioters to think carefully before making reckless moves that would threaten other people's lives.