Hong Kong police arrest 11 riot suspects, calls for rationality voiced in society

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The Hong Kong police have arrested 11 people related to Wednesday's riot around the complex of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government and Legislative Council (LegCo), with all walks of social life in Hong Kong strongly condemning the rioters' violent acts and calling for returning to rational discussion.

The HKSAR government's Commissioner of Police Stephen Lo said at a briefing Thursday afternoon that 11 people have been arrested for disorderly conduct in public place, unlawful assembly, assaulting police officers and other riot-related crimes.

Protesters gathered around the complex of HKSAR government and LegCo Wednesday morning before a LegCo meeting originally scheduled at 11:00 a.m. to discuss the amendments to the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Ordinance.

The protesters caused severe traffic congestion on nearby roads, tried to storm the LegCo building, and attacked police personnel with sharpened iron poles, bricks, wooden planks and rail barriers, forcing the LegCo meeting to be postponed.

"The process was premeditative and they (the rioters) particularly acted in an intimidating and inciting manner," Lo said, "Despite these, the police have adopted a restraint and tolerant attitude."

According to statistics from the Hong Kong Hospital Authority, a total of 80 people were injured and hospitalized due to the riot. According to Lo, a total of 22 police officers have sustained injuries in the incident.

"We have strongly condemned the violent behavior of the rioters. I have appealed to the public to conduct their public meeting and public procession in a peaceful and orderly manner," Lo said.

Stressing that it is the police's responsibility and duty to maintain public order and offer all Hong Kong residents a safe place to live in, Lo said he sincerely hopes that everyone would express their views and opinions in a peaceful, orderly and lawful manner.

Numerous organizations in the Hong Kong society expressed strong condemnation of the rioters' disregard for law and violent acts, and voiced support to the police for enforcing law.

Ng Wang-pun, president of the Chinese Manufacturers' Association of Hong Kong (CMA), criticized the rioters for blocking traffic, obstructing commercial activities in the area and harming Hong Kong's overall business environment.

Tam Wai-chu, a renowned Hong Kong politician and lawyer, warned against the incident's "double strikes" on Hong Kong's economy and rule of law. She called on people in Hong Kong to maintain rationality and urged schools to prevent students from participating in illegal activities.

Tse Hiu-hung, president of youth group Hong Kong Youth Enlightenment, said the rioters' violent acts cannot be accepted by any civilized and law-based society. She appealed to young people in Hong Kong to stay calm and rational.

The HKSAR government tabled the Fugitive Offenders & Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation (Amendment) Bill 2019 at the LegCo for discussion in April. It has repeatedly emphasized that the amendment aims to fill loopholes in the HKSAR's existing legal framework and will help protect Hong Kong's law-abiding general public and business environment.

Choi Wong Ling-ling, a member of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, said that she hopes the HKSAR government will continue explaining the amendments to the public to narrow differences and reduce concerns.

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