Hong Kong police will work with the city’s rail operator, shopping centres and hotels to conduct anti-terrorism drills, the force’s chief has revealed, urging the public to join the fight against those endangering national security.
Commissioner of Police Raymond Siu Chak-yee also said on Sunday that he would not rule out pursuing those who left floral tributes for a man who stabbed an officer before killing himself.
Siu was asked whether police would go after those people following their raid on the offices of the University of Hong Kong (HKU) student union last week, after student leaders passed a motion, which they later withdrew, expressing appreciation for the attacker’s “sacrifice”.
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Police described the assault a “lone wolf-style act of domestic terrorism” and warned the public against condoning it in any way.
“This is not what we would rule out because … [we may look at] whether they have committed other acts besides laying their floral tribute, such as committing inciting acts, and giving inciting speeches,” Siu said in a television interview.
Commenting on the HKU raid, he said students might have breached the national security law by promoting and glorifying the act of terrorism, or by inciting hatred among society.
Siu, described by colleagues as low profile and thoughtful, took over the top job last month at a time when police began to warn against the rising threat of terrorism in the city.
The police chief said while the threat level remained at medium, the force had foiled more than 20 cases involving ammunition and explosives over the past two years.
“Police have raised their guard and we have called on Hong Kong citizens to heighten their alert,” he said.
Siu said police would step up high-profile patrols and anti-terrorism drills in light of the situation.
“The anti-terrorism drills I am talking about are not restricted to the Hong Kong Police Force or other disciplined forces. But the whole of Hong Kong should take part,” he said.
“All stakeholders should take part, for example, the MTR Corporation, some shopping malls and hotels.”
Siu also said he disagreed with the notion that there was a widespread rift between police and society as a whole.
Instead, he argued, some residents had become more supportive of the force since they no longer felt it necessary to hide their views as they had during the anti-government protests in 2019.
Siu noted that earlier this month, police arrested 14 people, including nine students, in connection with an alleged terrorist plot by a pro-independence group known as “Returning Valiant”.
He suggested that since the social unrest, “fake news and information” had caused some people, including students, to become radicalised.
“The entire ‘black violence’ was a community of lies, and a scam of the century,” he said.
Siu also said improving the relationship between police and the public was not something the force could do alone, but stressed his officers would remain professional.
He also thanked a top official for speaking highly of the force.
Late last week, Xia Baolong, director of the State Council’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, praised officers as “the nation’s pride and Hong Kong’s heroes” and “the world’s best”.
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