HK Police illegal entry Universities including Chinese University on 11 & 12 November 2019
Updated: Nov 30, 2019
KEY ISSUE: police can only enter campuses with valid search warrants!
1. Source: Now News Police Press Conference
On 12 November 2019 Police fired 1,567 tear gas and 1,332 rubber bullets - most were fired at Chinese University, Hong Kong.
2. Source: reddit screenshot below
After 12 Nov. 2019
From a Professor in the school of Theology in the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
"To my friends, near and far:
My family and I are safe. Many thanks for your concern and prayers. We are heartbroken by what the police has done.
There was no riot, no attack, no disruption, no mass gathering in the campus of the Chinese University of Hong Kong before the police came. (Pro-Beijing media would want people to believe that to justify the police operation.) It was because of the invasion of the police that students and alumni gathered together to defend the campus. The riot police fired a thousand rounds of tear gas and rubber bullets. At least sixty were injured. The students used bricks and Molotov cocktail to stop the police from further intrusion. The beautiful campus became a war-zone. In the evening many alumni rushed to the campus to help. The situation has calmed down late at night. No one knows when the police will attack again.
The president and other top officials of the university arrived at the front to negotiate but were of no avail. They were among those tear-gassed by the police.
The only reason the police gave for their operation was that someone had thrown objects from a bridge onto a major highway. But there was no evidence that it was done by anyone in the university. On the other hand, at least one video footage from a rear camera of a car shows that riot police has thrown something down to the highway. (Even if it is true that an illegal act was suspected to be committed by a student or staff, what is needed is to send a few police officers to make investigation and to arrest the suspect, not to deploy platoons of riot police intruding into the campus without warrant, attacking with tear gas and rubber bullets.)
Some people still see the situation in Hong Kong in terms of political conflict. No. It is an undeclared war against the entire young generation, who now are regularly called by the police as "cockroaches" and are targets of police brutality."
3. Source: University World News
Police storming of campuses condemned internationally
Academics from Hong Kong and international academics, including from the United States, United Kingdom and Australia, have condemned police violence on campuses in Hong Kong, with international academics saying they may have to reconsider partnerships with Hong Kong universities if student safety is at risk, after at least four universities saw police storm campuses for the first time since protests began almost six months ago.
Police fired multiple rounds of tear gas and there were violent confrontations with students as police rushed into the campuses of the University of Hong Kong, the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), City University of Hong Kong and Hong Kong Polytechnic University on Monday and Tuesday, arresting a number of students.
In the longest and most drawn-out confrontation, hundreds of riot police besieged the CUHK campus for over 12 hours on Tuesday 12 November as students barricaded themselves in, amid constant tear gas volleys which did not stop even as the university’s president, Rocky Tuan, emerged to try to negotiate with the police.
Multiple fires were burning and a water cannon was fired on campus as night fell. Students said many were injured.
The campus confrontations were described by some university staff as a “warning” by police that they would not tolerate radical behaviour, and by others as a new “dangerous phase” with police willing to make a move on campuses, which they had previously avoided.
Police invasions of campuses came as protests around the city became more violent. Until now, after 24 weeks of almost continuous protests, campuses have seen mainly peaceful rallies, with some scuffles between students over the tearing down of ‘Lennon Walls’ by some mainland Chinese students. Even a class boycott called by students in early September fizzled out.
International academics from universities around the world expressed “serious concerns” about the police attacks.
“Without clear targets of arrest nor search warrants, riot police stationed themselves on and around university property, provoking students with accusations of unlawful assembly. In the case of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, riot police stormed into campus and made arrests. The chaos that ensued has completely disrupted and undermined the functions of universities as sites of open inquiry, freedom of expression, and effective teaching,” they said in an online statement.
“We urge the Hong Kong government to exercise restraint in managing the current crisis, ensuring that the police follow proper protocol in executing their duties,” academics said, adding that “police should only enter campuses with search warrants”.
“We may have to reconsider our partnerships with Hong Kong universities in the future if students’ safety is at risk and such blatant violation of academic and intellectual freedom continues,” they said.
The Scholars’ Alliance for Academic Freedom, a group of academics from a number of Hong Kong universities, on Tuesday accused police of using unnecessary force at universities, where students live and should be allowed to gather freely.
CUHK Associate Professor Chan King-ming, who is also a Democratic Party member, said: “I don't think our students were trying to do harm to the general public. They were just gathering on campus, or inside campus. So it's quite unlawful for the police to go in to crack down on any student gathering."
Chan said students called for a strike, “but the police blocked all the roads and intended to attack universities. Right now they have really got into the university,” which he described as a “shameful situation”.
Another Democratic legislator, Au Nok-hin, who is a CUHK alumnus, said the police were “out of control”.
Student death sparked latest protests
Public anger was sparked by the death on 8 November of Chow Tsz-lok, a student at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, four days after he fell from a car park trying to escape a police dispersal operation. Protesters had called for general strike on Monday and Tuesday to protest against police violence and Chow’s death.
Chow’s death is regarded as the first protest-related fatality since the protests began over a controversial bill to allow the extradition of criminals to mainland China. The bill has since been withdrawn by the Hong Kong government. But public anger is still high over police brutality and the large numbers of arrests – more than 3,000 since June.
On Monday clouds of tear smoke was seen billowing between buildings at the University of Hong Kong (HKU). Several academics including law professors Fu Hualing and Johannes Chan tried to defuse tensions, pleading with emotional and tearful students not to attack police.
Matthew Evans, science dean at HKU, told the media on Monday: “What is happening now is not sustainable. What happens is that the police come, there is a fight, people get arrested and then tomorrow it starts all over again – maybe not here, maybe somewhere else."
“It needs to end somehow.”
The HKU campus was almost deserted on Tuesday, with only groups of “defenders” at the university preparing new barricades, fearing police attacks similar to CUHK.
HKU’s vice-chancellor, Xiang Zhang, said in a statement on Monday that five of the university’s students had been arrested and added that regulations allowed police to enter a university without consent if they “reasonably suspect” there is cause for arrest.
CUHK under siege
But the biggest confrontation with police was at CUHK over two days. Tear gas, sponge grenades and rubber bullets rained into the campus with students lobbing petrol bombs in an attempt to halt a police advance on the campus.
Students said they had to stave off a police occupation of the campus and mass student arrests. “This is a direct attack on a university,” said one female student dressed in black and wearing a face mask.
A tall black-clad student giving his name only as Marcus said: “We are trying to stop the police from entering our campus because the university campus is a place where free ideas are spread and discussed; if they are able to breach here illegally, then it is the end of our freedom of speech.”
Even as police advanced, a police spokesperson said there was no intention to “charge into the campus” and added: “We are just trying to disperse and arrest alleged criminals. The best scenario would be if criminals hand themselves in."
“They [students] threw petrol bombs and objects at officers. No university campuses should be havens for criminals,” Acting Chief Superintendent Kelvin Kong said at a police press conference.
CUHK’s Chan on RTHK radio described this as a “totally disgraceful statement made by police”, adding that the police had no grounds to go into the university because the students are not rioters; students “are just gathering together because, actually, they live there”.
Chan warned that such police actions would escalate the situation, provoking more students and alumni to join the protests.
Last month police caused controversy by entering the CUHK campus without the university’s permission, arresting five students who were putting up protest posters.
Police insisted this week that they had “full legal power” to enter the CUHK campus to pursue perpetrators, despite recent assurances by the university’s administration that police would not be allowed in.
At City University of Hong Kong (CityU) tear gas was fired close to student residences after “radical protesters” began gathering early on Tuesday 12 November to build barricades “to defend the campus”. Streets outside the CityU campus periphery were strewn with bricks and debris from roadblocks set up by demonstrators earlier. Police said students had been throwing petrol bombs and their [police] actions were intended to clear the roads.
The CityU administration, in a statement, said it was “highly concerned” about an incident on Tuesday morning when riot police carried out “dispersal operations” close to student residences. In an earlier letter to students and staff, the administration condemned the acts of “a group of masked people with unknown identities” who had recently vandalised university facilities, including the office of the university’s president.
Hong Kong Polytechnic University said it had tightened security measures on campus after clashes between protesters and police on Monday when multiple rounds of tear gas were fired. Students had barricaded a number of entry points to the campus. One student outside the campus said: “The police are wanting to enter the campus just because students have set up roadblocks outside.”
Universities in Hong Kong were closed earlier this week, but several extended the cancellation of classes, hoping to calm the situation and to repair damaged facilities, according to university statements. Graduation ceremonies were also cancelled at a number of universities.
Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam said protesters were being extremely selfish. She hoped universities and schools would urge students not to take part in demonstrations, while China issued a statement of “strong support” for Hong Kong’s police via official Chinese media.
4. Source: RTHK
"A group of academics from various universities have seriously condemned the police for firing tear gas and arresting students on campuses – saying it is unlawful for officers to enter these areas.
The Scholars’ Alliance for Academic Freedom hit out at the police on Tuesday, accusing them of using an unnecessary level of force at the institutions – where students live and should be allowed to gather freely.
It added that the senior management of each university should immediately meet Chief Executive Carrie Lam to speak out against police operations to protect their students.
Associate professor Chan King-ming from Chinese University said it was wrong for the officers to have cracked down on the students at campuses.
Chan said students called for a strike and in response police surrounded and blocked them.
"It is very shameful to see this situation happening," he said.
"In my understanding, I don't think our students were trying to do harm to the general public. They were just gathering in campuses, inside campuses. It's quite unlawful for the police to crack down on any student gathering."
Chan told RTHK's Candice Wong the actions of police could lead to more people joining the protests as graduates of the universities will also now join the protests.
He said all universities in Hong Kong should suspend lectures for at least one week until the situation is resolved."
5. Online petition source:
【Sign Now】 Petition by Global Academics Against Police Brutality in Hong Kong 【立即簽署】全球學者反對香港警察暴行的請願書
PLEASE SIGN NOW BY CLICKING HERE: https://forms.gle/rCG2Vc2pzXZbv6jFA
We the undersigned, as deeply concerned members of the global academic community,
Condemn the use of disproportionate force and retaliatory brutality by the Hong Kong Police against students in university campuses in Hong Kong. In particular, we are outraged by the unauthorised entry, extensive deployment of tear gas and violent intimidation in the Chinese University of Hong Kong, City University of Hong Kong, Polytechnic University of Hong Kong and the University of Hong Kong on 11th and 12th November, 2019.
Condemn the use of unjustified violence against protesters across Hong Kong in all other contexts. Including, most recently, the firing of live rounds at point-blank range against protesters in Sai Wan Ho, and the repeated attempts by a motorcycle officer to run-over protesters in Kwai Fong on 11th November 2019, both of which are in clear violation of the Police General Orders Force Procedures Manual.
Condemn the continued use of neo-Fascist language by the Hong Kong Police, particularly the consistent reference to protesters and supporters of democracy as ‘cockroaches’, that contribute to furthering vitriolic hatred between all factions in the Hong Kong community.
Urge leaders of Hong Kong universities to release clear statements rejecting the entry of police into university campuses, supporting the freedom of assembly of students and staff, and reaffirming the sacrosanct responsibility of all universities to protect academic freedom and provide a safe space for all students to express their views.
Demand the Hong Kong Police to cease all acts of police brutality immediately, suspend officers who have committed disproportionate acts of violence with immediate effect, and initiate legal charges where necessary against officers who have violated the law.
Demand the Hong Kong government to set up an independent inquiry into the use of force in the protests since June 2019, chaired by an impartial judge. In particular, we believe the inquiry should have the power to summon witnesses, collect a coherent and representative body of evidence, and independently validate police accounts, above and beyond the restricted scope and power of the Independent Police Complaints Council.
We stand in solidarity with the Hong Kong people. We believe the defence of academic freedom, the freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly and association, and the responsibility to protect the safety of our students are universal causes common to all.
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