Police chief clarifies "riot" term

June 17, 2019

Participants who had not engaged in any violent acts during the June 12 public order event need not worry about committing a rioting offence, Commissioner of Police Stephen Lo said today.


Mr Lo made the statement to clarify the terms used during a press conference last week to describe the situation outside the Legislative Council building on June 12.


“There was a lot of discussion ongoing about the term 'riot' that I have used in the press conference to describe the situation.


“What I meant is the behaviour displayed by some protesters might have committed rioting offences. As such, those others who had participated in the same public order event but had not engaged in any violent acts need not worry about committing a rioting offence.”


He noted that the Police had so far arrested 15 people for allegedly committing riot or other violent offences, with only five of them arrested for riot-related offences.


Mr Lo added that officers also arrested 17 people in the vicinity on the same day for allegedly committing other crimes, including failure to produce identity documents, loitering, and possession of equipment for illegal purpose.


“As for the prosecution of a riot, the threshold for prosecution is very high. Police need to collect sufficient evidence and consult the Department of Justice before laying a charge.


“As for the remaining cases, in view of high public concern, we will review the evidence collected with the Department of Justice and discuss with them on the follow-up action as soon as possible.”


He also said that as with other operations of a similar scale, the Police will conduct a review to find out if there are any areas that need to be improved.


Noting that the Police have received 34 complaints regarding the events of that day, including some on the alleged excessive use of force, Mr Lo said a thorough and fair investigation will be carried out, which will then be scrutinised, monitored and reviewed by the Independent Police Complaints Council.

Back to top