Hong Kong police said that they are confident to control any battle by the pro-democracy protesters, even if violence escalates further, pouring cold water on concerns that the authoritarian mainland might need to intervene.
Three senior commanders have said they’re unaware of such plans and admitted that any such move would place the city’s political chaos in uncharted waters. They insisted that the issue was controversial as the local force could handle the situation.
One senior commander said, “I can’t envisage it.”
“At the operational level, we have considerable depth. I think we have the determination, the cohesiveness and the depth of resources to keep going,” he added.
The commanders agreed to have a discussion with a group of foreign journalists on condition of anonymity so they could speak more freely during the worst unrest the force has faced since leftist riots in the late 1960s.
The clashes broke out in Hong Kong after China plans to allow extraditions to the mainlands. Millions of protesters hit the streets and clashes sparked between police and small groups of hardcore protesters.
The police have become the hatred face of the government. Neither Beijing nor Hong Kong’s leaders willing to offer any compromises. The police have been accused by protesters, rights groups and the UN’s rights chief of using excessive force.
But the officers have claimed that they have deployed proportionate force against increasingly violent protesters armed with sling-shots, petrol bombs, and bricks. “This is a political issue. And a political issue needs a political solution to solve it,” said one of the officials.
Since early June, the clashes began police arrested more than 700 arrests but it could not suppress the protesters. Asked how long it might take to repair that damage, one commander said: “It’s not easy. I can’t tell you how long it will take, but it’s going to take time.”