A Hong Kong police officer drew his gun and a colleague fired pepper spray while disarming a cleaver-wielding bus passenger who wasn’t complying with a new rule that masks be worn on public transport.
The passenger boarded a KMB bus at the Tai Po Centre terminus at about 3pm on Friday but pulled down his surgical mask after getting on, a bus company spokesman said.
Passengers and the driver urged him to put on his mask, but he ignored them, instead producing the kitchen cleaver and making threatening remarks, leading a terminus supervisor to call police.
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The 47-year-old fled on foot but was located by police on a footbridge on Tai Po Tai Wo Road, where he was still holding the 13cm cleaver. The officer drew his gun as a precaution after the man ignored verbal warnings, a police spokesman said. He then ran off again while officers gave chase.
In a widely circulated video clip, an officer in a group of six can be seen pepper-spraying the armed man during an encounter at a public rest area on Nam Wan Road, as the other officer points his gun at him.
Hong Kong third wave: 64-year-old could be first prosecuted for violating new public transport mask rules amid Covid-19 spike
The man was soon pinned to the ground, disarmed and arrested for criminal intimidation and possession of an offensive weapon.
Though uninjured, he was later examined at Alice Ho Miu Ling Nethersole Hospital.
The incident comes amid a string of incidents involving passengers or restaurant patrons clashing with managers or fellow commuters for refusing to don surgical masks.
The new regulation, which became enforceable on Wednesday, legally requires people to wear masks on public transport as the city battles a third wave in what has been described as its worst outbreak of the pandemic so far. Violators face fines of up to HK$5,000.
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