Hong Kong police loosened guidelines on the use of force officers should use in the run-up to demonstrations on Oct. 1, giving them greater power to deal with protesters in difficult situations, according to police documents seen by Reuters.
On Tuesday, the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, officers deployed a record level of force and firearms, including firing about 1,400 rounds of tear gas, 900 rubber bullets and six live rounds.
More than 100 people were wounded in the turmoil, as anti-government demonstrators took to the streets across the Chinese-ruled territory, throwing petrol bombs and attacking police. For the first time in the latest wave of protests, a demonstrator was shot by live fire.
In the documents seen by Reuters, the police manual changed some guidelines on how officers could act when considering force.
The updated guidelines also removed a line that said “officers will be accountable for their own actions”, stating only that “officers on the ground should exercise their own discretion to determine what level of force is justified in a given situation”.
Civic Party lawmaker Tanya Chan said that change was significant.