Since the start of Operation TIDERDIER in June last year, police officers have remained steadfast in stopping violence and curbing disorder, and some of them had sustained injuries when discharging duties. Despite the physical pain, their determination to uphold law and order has never wavered.
On July 14 last year, Detective Senior Police Constable Ah Hang, together with his fellow colleagues of New Territories South Regional Response Contingent and anti-riot police, was deployed to New Town Plaza shopping mall in Sha Tin to disperse protesters. At that time, he was only equipped with a round shield and an extendable baton. As hundreds of protesters kept hurling different kinds of objects at the police officers, Ah Hang fell on the ground amid the chaos and was attacked by a number of protesters. When he stood up, he noticed that he had lost his glasses. While he was trying to retreat to a safe area, he was pushed from the escalator and fell on the ground again. Dozens of protesters then surrounded him, punching and kicking him as well as attacking him with hard objects.
“Serving as a police officer for more than 20 years, it never crossed my mind that I would encounter such a serious attack. The protesters kept assaulting me, I could only use my hands to protect my head until my colleagues came to my rescue.” He not only had bruises on his body, but also received three stitches to his head wound. To Ah Hang, physical pain was something he could endure, but what saddened him the most was the attack on the dignity of police officers. However, he said, “I am very fortunate. Some colleagues had sustained much more serious injuries. This incident has affirmed my belief that police officers must have a strong sense of mission, righteousness and a spirit of never giving up.”
Police Constable Ah Ling was hit by a bomb of corrosive liquid hurled by a protester when he was on duty in Tuen Mun last October. Although he has undergone a few operations, he is living with great pain every day and the scars on his chest are still clearly visible.
On October 1, while Ah Ling and his colleagues were conducting an enforcement operation in the vicinity of Tuen Mun Town Hall, the protesters became hostile and violent clashes occurred. Seeing a colleague being attacked by protesters, Ah Ling immediately stepped forward to render assistance, but someone pushed him on the ground. When he got up, he noticed that he had been hit by an object and felt great pain in his chest.
Ah Ling recalled, “When I checked my uniform, I found that a large piece of fabric had been dissolved by the corrosive liquid. Without realising the severity of my injury, I changed into a new set of uniform to carry on with my duties, but my supervisors insisted on sending me to hospital for treatment.” Ah Ling was hospitalised for nearly two months during which he underwent debridement and skin grafting operations. Fortunately, Ah Ling had protective gear around his neck when he was being attacked. Otherwise, he could have sustained more serious injuries and lost his life. The injury has caused great inconvenience to Ah Ling’s daily life. He is unable to get a good sleep because of the pain and he needs to apply ointment to the wound once every few hours. Nevertheless, he is optimistic about his recovery and has returned to the front line to carry out his duties. “I am doing what a police officer should do. I am a law enforcer, not a victim. Whenever I see my wound, I would remind myself to be more careful at work.”
Sergeant Ah Tao, who was a member of New Territories South Region Tier 2, is another injured officer. “Being a police officer is no easy task. The sense of mission is our driving force, which motivates us to rise to challenges and stand fast at our posts,” he said. Last December, while Ah Tao and his colleagues were handling a criminal damage case at New Town Plaza in Sha Tin, a large number of protesters kept hurling insults and objects at them. After Ah Tao subdued a violent protester who had charged the police cordon line, a group of protesters rushed towards him to snatch the arrestee. Ah Tao was punched and kicked by the protesters until his colleagues helped him retreat to a safe position.
Despite sustaining a minor concussion and face injuries, Ah Tao has no hatred for the violent protesters. He said this experience had convinced him of the important role of police officers in maintaining law and order in society. “Every society needs police officers to enforce the law. We have to uphold our mission and remain dedicated to our duties to restore peace and order to our society.”