I’m Angry / Richard Scotford

I’m angry.

I’m angry at the persistent, gratuitous violence by the police now in Hong Kong against people on the street.

And I’ll tell you who I’m angry at…

I’m angry at YOU!

For tacitly accepting it as a consequence of people protesting for their rights. Persistent protest is not the cause of an up-spiral of violence by the police. There is no logical connection between the two.

CY has now given the HK Police Force a free-reign to intimidate protesters with violence, and the protesters will continue to take it. But the only thing that will stop it is if enough people can be bothered to speak up in consternation. This goes far beyond, keeping roads clear for traffic, This is the police using violent arrests and intimidation as their first response to political expression.

Societies where police forces use violence readily are invariably more violent too. Violence begets violence. It doesn’t prevent it.

Hong Kong has remained a peaceful, crime free city for generations largely due to the mutual respect between citizens and police to be proportional and understanding with each other. The up tick in violence is not a result of the civil disobedience movement, but instead a conscious decision by the government to counter its political enemies with violence. If society let’s this happen now, it wont be long before the Government deals with all its enemies in such a way, whether they be political or economic. Then this fight will no longer be remote to YOU.

Your apathy to this is creating a new police force in HK modelled on the People’s Armed Police (PAP). In China The PAP are the people who keep social control in the government’s favour. They hit first, ask questions later. Their violence is not a product of an antagonistic general public, but a reflection of the government’s contempt for the people and the violent world they inhabit.

I’m not anti-police and I’m certainly not a peace loving hippy. I grew up wanting to join the military right throughout my teens. I was in the cadet force and then joined the military reserves for two years. I have stood on guard duty for hours on military bases at a time when the IRA was walking up to soldiers in uniform and executing them on train station platforms. So, wearing a uniform and knowing someone wants to harm you is not an alien idea for me. I get it. I get that when you’re in uniform, you fight for the person next to you and not necessarily for the politics of the moment.

This you leave to politicians.

The fact that when you’re in uniform you can be allowed to check out from the morality of the situation for the politicians to deal with is acceptable if, and it’s a big if, you maintain discipline. If you break the discipline then you’re effectively just a gang of goons terrorising the public using weapons they bought.

Through the will of the people, politicians allow police or soldiers to use force on their behalf to maintain order and protect society. However, this is NOT a licence to dispense extra judicious justice or exact revenge or political vengeance on a certain section of society. What’s key here is discipline.

In the case of the HK Police Force, the thing that has everyone riled up is their complete lack of discipline. We’re not talking about the kind of discipline to obey orders and maintain the bonds that hold the Force together. The discipline we’re talking about is when they engage with the public and dispense violence indiscriminately and without much provocation. In this light, people see the police as persistently acting extra judiciously and with vengeance and this is what makes people angry.

HK is in the throws of a very sophisticated civil disobedience movement. Polls show that the people taking part in the Movement are highly intelligent and contributing members of society. They understand that blocking roads is both illegal and wrong. They understand that there are legal consequences to such actions and they are prepared to be judged in a court and sentenced fairly.

None of the protest areas are ever in chaos. There is no rioting. Even at the height of the people’s actions, protesters maintain an order that ensures everyone’s safety. Even the police’s safety. Those who try to throw empty plastic bottles at the police are quickly dealt with by the crowds in a peaceful manner. Even on the very few occasions that the crowd have pushed on the police cordons, the crowd only ever push. They never engage in any form of combat with the police. The Movement is non violent, but it certainly isn’t passive or submissive. If police are separated, as they often are, the crowd jeers at them but let’s them return to their ranks untouched. There hasn’t been a single case of a police officer being assaulted outside of an arrest instigated by the police. The crowd maintains the highest amount of discipline given the circumstances. Anyone who remotely feels like this is not so should visit a frontline and they will quickly see where the danger lies.

The danger lies with the police.

Wherever the protesters come up close to the police, the police line is volatile, erratic and unpredictable. No one is safe. Even other police officers receive blind beatings from their colleagues once the blue line attacks the crowds.

I have so many examples of the police just losing control it would become boring if I listed them all out, but here’s the slightest of all examples, which highlights better just how volatile the police are.

I was in Mongkok, and was on the edge of the curb, taking photographs up at the main crowd of protesters who were in a face-off with the police about 15metres away. The road had been taped-off by police, so the tape was across my stomach. I knew that if I even stepped onto the road it would be met with a very violent police response. To my right, on the pavement was a traffic cone. A policeman had been asked to section off the road and was spacing out cones. He came towards me to get the cone that was at my side. The cone was actually taller than the police tape, so instinctively I lifted up the police tape a few inches so he could pull the cone onto the road more easily. The policeman flipped at me and the tension around us went from 0-10 in a flash. I think the only thing that stopped the police not taking me out was that I was a westerner. If I’d have been Chinese I would have been violently arrested. Something as incongruous as lifting the police tape 2 inches to facilitate his work quickly escalated into an aggressive response from all the police in the area. I found a picture of the police biker who flipped on Passion Times, photo below.

For me, this is indicative of the state of mind of the police, everything they see is an attack upon them. I get that they’re stressed and over worked, but as they like to remind people on the street, they’re getting paid to do this. So if they are, maintain some discipline! Get some proportionality! It’s a job, and you are expected to maintain a high standard, regardless of what’s going on around you. Just because the people around you are behaving badly, it doesn’t give you free licence too, because you’re getting paid. How many people in McDonalds do you think want to smack a burger in your smug face after doing their fourth double shift of the week for minimum wage?

Instead of maintaining even a modicum of decorum, the police consistently rise to even the slightest provocation like school children in a school yard. Protesters jeer at police, police get angry and do the crazy finger pointing face. Protesters jeer more. Police anger levels reach boiling point and they eventually wreak revenge upon a poor individual in the crowd who they feel has too much jib, Protesters jeer more. Police get angrier until finally a Red Flag goes up and police plough into crowds, skitlting everyone. Crowds regroup and jeer at police. Then the whole process starts again, only the police are almost bursting to attack the crowds again. That’s pretty much how every major incident happens. Almost without fail every situation I’ve ever been near could be easily diffused by some confident, assertive policing by senior officers. Unfortunately the senior officers are invariably more wound-up than the boys in blue and so the situation constantly nose dives.

Watching the police being riled up time and time again creates curious emotions in me. The first thing is that I feel they are utterly undisciplined. They stand on guard with their dirty, unpolished boots, the first sign of a uniform force in disarray, and trade insults to protestors across barricades spanning quite big distances. The ring leaders are usually the white shirted officers or the plain clothed, anti-triad police. There is no onus on a crowd to not heckle the police. In fact, why shouldn’t they heckle the police? Heckling is a form on minimum force by protesters to put over their message to an unresponsive government. It’s neither a provocation or a violent act. It’s political theatre. But the HK Police Force see it as a personal attack upon them. Every chant of Black Police cuts them to the quick and you can literally see the anger rise in them. The police seem either ill equipped or incapable of extracting themselves from the situation personally and are completely incapable of seeing that they are locked in a political drama that is high on theatrics but low on actual violence.
Even though the police face no credible threat of real violence, they hold on to every comment so that by the time they are ordered to attack, their aggression levels are so high they blunder madly into the crowd swinging blindly at anyone that gets in the way. Their charges are never clearances and more akin to blind fury and wrath. I would be willing to wager that a great deal of the police injuries are actually shoulder injuries from swinging the batons so hard and fast without any warm up.

Would love to see the figures of how many police have shoulder injuries.

On top of the undisciplined regulars, I believe there’s another dynamic going on involving the anti-triad police. Obviously, these guys have spent many years immersed in triad culture and they’ve probably been witness to some incredibly violent scenes between rival gangs. But as police, they have been tasked with the role of peacemaker, diffusing extremely angry and viscous people. However, with the democracy protesters it is like the triad police have formed into their own quasi- triad gang and are now acting out all the things they’ve seen real triads do in the past. Crazy gesticulating, finger pointing, eye-popping, strained necks and mob violence are all the things that we would associate with a triad group about to fight in a bar, but these are now the everyday actions of the anti-triad police towards the protesters. I’m would wager all the money in the world that the triad-police would NEVER arrest a triad like they arrest a pro-democracy protesters on the street. It would create a war. Yet the triad police now wreak a level of violence on the students and HK citizens that would never be tolerated within triad culture. It is beyond shameful the police are manifesting all the violence they have witnessed over the years on people who do not fight back. It’s despicable and cowardly and fills me with disgust.

YOU should also be concerned about this. Just as the generation of young people have awoken politically, so this generation of police are awaking violently.

As I said at the start, every society where the police dispense violence willingly at the first instance inevitably slides into more violence. Violent police do not make peaceful, civil societies. Even if you have no intention to protest for more democracy, if you stand by and let the police get away with their violence now, then it wont be long before that aggression begins to permeate into all other parts of HK life.

This is not the protesters fault, in the same sense as it is not the girl’s fault she was attacked if she wears a short skirt. As a citizen we have to stand-up and call-out excessive violence, whether it comes from the State or citizens. Hong Kong is changing and YOU can’t hide in apathy.

This is from my blog here.


37 replies »

    • As a citizen of Hong Kong, I salute to Mr Richard Scotford. I really thankful to him to speak out helping Hong Kong to strive through the difficulty in era not to be chosen. We will remember this good man.

  1. And I am ANGRY at fire-stokers like you who at this stage still promote lies that the protesters have never engaged in any form of combat with the police. You still want to bring MORE people out? What can be the motive behind your call besides throwing HK into deeper chaos? We need sensible solutions here not senseless provocations!!

    • 你在說廢話!一個示威者跟警方打鬥都不可以有?你是在雞蛋裡挑骨頭了!電視畫面所見,警察致命地瘋狂扑頭比比皆是,與警察打鬥者少之又少,警棍是不可以扑頭的,只能打下身,你知道嗎?難道這些血腥鎮壓不足以令我們憤怒嗎?你真冷血!

        • 你理屈詞窮,又在顧左右而言他,我是回應你那句「promote lies that the protesters have never engaged in any form of combat with the police.」,作者是為血腥鎮壓而憤怒,難道你認為不是血腥鎮壓嗎?

    • When I was in high school, I was taught never to discredit someone by guessing at and then passing judgment on their motive. The man makes his observations and gives his opinions, let’s deal with them.
      And I don’t think these are provocations. The man is entitled to his opinions, and so are you. I respect yours just like I do his.

    • If the author is provoking more chaos and violence by posting this article, I am afraid that his method won’t be too effective. CY Leung is about a trillion times more powerful in doing so, by actually giving the police a free licence to use unlimited violence (short of opening fire) on protesters.
      I am ANGRY too. Not at CY Leung (because my anger quota for him has exhausted).
      I am ANGRY too. Not at the police (because they are not the root cause of the confrontation).
      I am ANGRY at people like Joe Wong who have completely lost their conscience. People who believe the completely distorted values of some businessmen and professionals represent the wellbeing of the entire society.

  2. Buddha teaches us: Getting angry is to punish oneself with the mistakes of others.(生氣,就是拿別人的過錯來懲罰自己。 )Instead of getting angry and digging deeper into mistakes from all sides, we should look onto ourselves and reflect on what more can we do. Are we so unsure of ourselves or so unwilling to do more that we do not even have the confidence to get support from a third or a quarter of the business, industry and commercial sectors? The more important question to ask ourselves is also, if one lacked the qualities, tact and charisma to get such support, does he/she still deserve to lead HK? Or can this person lead HK effectively?

    • 人大831決定是完全蠻橫無理,這種選舉方式,跟大陸選舉規定候選人要經黨委批核無異,完全是由中共來決定候選人的人選。



      Liked by 1 person

  3. Your generalization is an insult to businessmen, professionals, etc, who have worked and fought hard to uphold the values of HK.
    If the pan-democrats are too lazy, or worse, too proud, campaign for support from these sectors then they have only themselves to blame.

    • The government has also opened the door to change the composition of the nomination committee but the students, pan-democrats, OC, all refused to enegage in constructive dialogue and insisted on civil nomination – my way or no way – and ignored the findings of numerous opinion polls. This kind of behaviour only drives more ppl to the other side.

      • 你是這般天真還是扮天真?這些改變是不會令工商界、要倚靠工商界維生的大部份專業界、左派工會及社團、人大、政栛、保皇黨議員、鄉議局等提委人數少於六百人的,你敢我打賭嗎?如果831決定不改,其他的細節是改變不了只有中共允許的人才能「出閘」的遊戲規則。

        現在佔領者的訴求是改變831決定,你還在說「insisted on civil nomination」,insist 的是你,不是別人。

    • 你能舉出一個工商界、專業界向中共說不的例子嗎?





    • 那些貴為提委的工商界及其專業界依附者所維護的所謂「香港價值」,就是埋沒良知向中共靠攏,而你Joe Wong亦如是。

  4. 恐怕就算有才幹、有魅力者都難逃北京在並非民選的提委會裡面的决定性影響力。



  5. With talkshow hosts and certain newspaper making a living out of digging up “black material" of government officials, you still really think the most competent and charismatic candidates will come out?

    • Mr Joe Wong, you have completely missed the point. We do not need the most competent and charismatic SAR chief executive. What we need is (1) a good and fair election system, (2) a leader with integrity (3) a leader who cares about how the public think and need. Wise people can see through all the biased media coverage, be it pro-goverment or pro-protesters.

      By the way, we do not design an election system according to what competent people have raised their hands for nomination. We design a good and fair system so that more competent people are lured to stand, knowing they are not competing with pro-PRC candidates who have an unfair advantage under a twisted election system.

      • I totally agree with Dungeon.

        When we talk about democracy, we are not talking about electing the most competent and charismatic leader (otherwise candidates can just take an exam or take part in a popularity contest).
        we are talking about putting in a fair and just system so that everyone is treated the exact same way, so that everyone has the same chance (capability permitting) of selecting their own leader, or being selected as one.

        if we try to make sure a certain group gets an unfair advantage in (1) getting nominated (2) having a bigger influence through more votes on the outcome of the election (3) getting eventually elected, THIS IS NOT democracy.

        No matter how good our CE is at sweet talking, the fundamental truth is THIS IS SIMPLY NOT democracy.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I can agree to Dungeon’s 2) and 3) but I simply cannot see how 1) can lead to 2) and 3).

    ELECTION DOES NOT EQUAL DEMOCRACY. Not matter how “authentic" it is.

    If you can still naively believe that elections can be fair and open and NOT about money, then so be it. Taipei is an anomaly. Simply go read about how much was spent in campaigning in any of the US elections from Mayors to Governors, from Congress to Senate to President. Even in the US, not all votes are equal!

    My point in this blog has always been VERY SIMPLE: don’t be satisfied with electing our leader, fight further for ways to monitor his/her work DURING THE TERM, not after. But unfortunately, most people here seem to be content with just casting a vote in a “open and fair" system and shy away from the responsibility of making sure the person you elected is doing his/her job properly.

    Look at the pan-democrats that you and I have elected. Are they doing their jobs the way we want them to? Emily Lau actually said openly that her party and the rest of the pan-demcrats will IGNORE PUBLIC OPINION and vote against the current framework even when a public vote / referendum shows the majority of the people supports it!

    Visitor and Dungeon, I challenge you to fight for more like Occupy Wall Street, which grew from the dissatisfaction over the behaviour of elected officials AFTER they took office and looked after only the 1% to the detriment of the 99%, and fight for more democratic participation between elections.

  7. And to those who didn’t even border to take a look at the list of members of the last Election Committee and simply dismiss them as all controlled by the Central Government, I guess Democratic Party members like Cheung Man Kwong, Ip Kin Yuen, Sin Chung Kai, Law Chi Kwong, Yeung Shum, Stanley Ng, etc, are all controlled by Beijing and have never stood up against the CCP! (你能舉出一個工商界、專業界向中共說不的例子嗎?)

    You are correct, I cannot find one from the Industrial, commercial and financial (First Sector), because the pro-democratic camp didn’t even bother to field ONE candidate.

    In 2011, the Pan-democrats put up only a TOTAL of 198 candidates for the 1,044 contested seats and won 173 seats, giving them a pretty high success rate of 87.4%. In comparison, the pro-establishment camp, fielded 1,315 and won 852 (64.8%). With their meager efforts, the pro-democracy camp cannot control a sixth of the EC seats even if they had won every single seat they contested.

    If they are too lazy to put in the effort to campaign and run, then they have only themselves to blame. I guess, I too, am angry.

    Since our dear friends above are claiming that the Professions (Second Sector) are ALL pro-Beijing and that it would be hard to even name ONE instance of the professionals standing up against the Central Government, let’s take a closer look at some of the sectors:

    Education: The pro-democracy Hong Kong Professional Teachers’ Union field a 25-candidate list for the 30 seats and all won a seat. The remaining 5 went to pro-establishment candidates. In fact, if they work just a bit harder to field 5 more candidates from their 90,000-strong membership, they received enough votes to dominate all 30 seats.

    IT: Again, pro-democracy IT Voice 2012 won every seat for their 20-candidate list and could have won more if only they had more candidates. 8 of the remaining 10 seats went to pro-Beijing candidates.

    Legal: ProDem22 and ProDem8, two coalitions of pro-democracy candidates with some from the Democratic Party and Civic Party, won ALL 30 seats in this subsector.

    Moving on to the Third Sector, Labour, social services, religious and other sectors, we had all 60 seats in the Social Welfare subsector taken up by pro-democracy groups.

    In fact, many of the pro-democracy groups won every seat they fielded a candidate for in various subsectors, especially in the Professions sector. The irony is they could very well have won many more seats if they had more people running. Again, a lack of will power to put in the hard work to run full lists for more subsectors is the main reason for their poor representation.

    These are all information readily available from Wiki and the government Electoral Affairs Commission website. We can talk ideals all day long but I strongly suggest that you enrich your views with hard facts and data. This can certainly help all in building a robust DEMOCRATIC system, not just an open and fair ELECTION system.

    • 特首選舉委員會的民主派的選民就只能在自己的界別選到百多名選委,其他界別如工商界、某些專業界、左派工會及社團、鄉議局等,民主派有可能成為選委候選人嗎?根本就沒可能!你不要混淆視聽!這些界別都是為私利而向北京靠攏,而那些當然選委如工商界、某些專業界功能組別議員、人大、政協,加起來就有百多人,亦是唯中共是尚,試問提委會如何能不受中共操控?



  8. An open and fair election system is the FOUNDATION of a sustainable and effective government. Yes it’s just the foundation, no one can guarantee the elected leader will do the job properly. Like CY Leung, he’s clearly just a moron. What can you do to oppose him AFTER he’s taken office? You’d be met with police batons. Support the unfair system and you have yourself to blame when one day you get into trouble with the unfairly elected authority.
    Western democratic systems take many forms. ALL of them are far from perfect. Time and time again incompetent people get into office. But there is a safety valve, these incompetent leaders are invariably dumped by the people during their term or at least by the end of their term. Isn’t this a way of monitoring performance AFTER election?
    Mr Joe Wong kept saying pro-democrats are too lazy to campaign and run. Why do you think they are lazy? It’s a matter of availability of resources. No pro-democracy candidate in HK can dish out tens of millions in campaigning for a single seat. Those with resources will only laugh and continue to play the unfair game to their advantage.
    Mr Wong, if you are genuine in supporting fair election and a robust democratic system, do not start off on the wrong foot. Build the foundation on stone, not sand.

  9. I simply cannot think of any election system that does not heavily depend the resources one has to run. You want “fair and open" elections? You better have deep pockets.

    If democracy is only about the right to vote one out of office AFTER 4/5 years of damage, you can count me out.

    What I was referring to are mandating mechanisms, such as regular community engagement, regular public votes, appraisal system tied in with renuneration, transparent expenses accounts, etc, so that WE can monitor the performance of the CE and other elected officials (Legco + DC), plus ensure that they follow public’s views.

    You still prefer just voting and wash your hands?

      • Democracy is about everyone plays on level grounds, the voters, the candidates, the political parties.
        Democracy is about accountability. the elected is accountable to the electorate, not to a superior and corrupt power.
        No, I am not happy with the limitation of voting a bad choice out after 5 years of damage. But if it’s the people’s choice, the people have to accept the consequence. It is still far better than having no say (look at Macau’s recent CE election, it’s beyond a joke). I never said I prefer voting and wash my hands, please do not put words in my mouth.

        P.S. I previously said lots of incompetent people got into office under the Western democratic systems. At the same time lots of independents with very limited resources have won too. They do not have deep pockets. Looks at the facts, I can find one hundred examples within an hour. Deep pockets helps, but it’s not a sure win formula, please do not mislead the less informed.

        Finally not sure if we should continue the debate under this “I’m Angry" article. I find it a little impolite to the author Richard Scotford.

  10. Of course there are. But what’s the norm? One hundred vs how many? An interesting question: How many of the current Pan-democratic Legco members would still be elected without political donations (which I accept as an integral part of elective politics) from Jimmy Lai, a businessman no less? Could they still retain veto power?

    A responsible citizen in a democratic system has the dury to keep themselves informed. Unfortunately, most elections are built on misleading the uninformed.

    And I actually kind of think it is impolite of the author to ignore all the comments. The earlier ones are related to his artcile.

  11. Seems that this has became a full blown debate. Don’t think it is appropriate for us to continue here. In any event Dungeon has said what I really need to say. I thank him for that.

  12. If Joe Wong is still not convinced by Dungeon and others, I don’t think he will ever be. Let’s ponder what Johann Wolfgang von Goethe once said: “None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free." Unfortunately, Stockholm syndrome is rife amongst Hongkongers and there is no vaccine for it.

  13. There is not enough evidence to say that Mr Joe Wong has enslaved himself (I hope not). But there is ample evidence that his mind is filled with convoluted logic. He mixes up facts and myths, he does not differentiate cause and consequence. Although he appears to be educated, but his critical thinking skills is on par with 維園阿伯, he has my sympathy.

  14. I do not support unfair systems. But I want more than just Electoral Politics.

    With my維園阿伯ish reasoning, I responded to the article because I was irked by the obvious lie that, “They [the protesters] never engage in any form of combat with the police.” I never said I was blind to the violent acts by some of the police. I have stated elsewhere in this blog that I demand individual police to be held responsible for each and every one of their wrongful actions, and in the same way, all protesters should be held responsible for theirs, which completes their act of Civil Disobedience.

    The whole debate on businessmen and professionals started when Dungeon responded with, “…CY Leung is about a trillion times more powerful in doing so [provoking], by actually giving the police a free licence to use unlimited violence (short of opening fire) on protesters… I am ANGRY at people like Joe Wong who have completely lost their conscience. People who believe the completely distorted values of some businessmen and professionals represent the wellbeing of the entire society.”

    I simply cannot stand the disrespect to fellow professionals by such blanket statements. The details on some of the subsectors and information on the previous election for the Election Committee was prompted by 訪客’s question, “你能舉出一個工商界、專業界向中共說不的例子嗎?” that was later qualified to “唯中共是從的專業界” and “靠工商維生的專業界.” (Not sure whether it is the same person as there are too many 訪客s.) (Btw, I am not sure whether the Legal subsector, with 100% pro-democratic seats, belongs to any of the above too.)

    I also cannot (under)stand the reluctance to look into the implications of the government’s proposal of replacing (All? Some?) corporate/director votes with individual votes, e.g. in Industrial, commercial and financial (First Sector), and how this can contribute to a more representative Nomination Committee. How about structural changes like reducing the 60 seats for Agricultural and Fisheries to 30 and giving them all to a new subsector for Students over 18? Impossible? Maybe. But better than sitting around putting all your eggs in one basket only. Better than regretting later when the government announces the “New” Nomination Committee structure without your input. Why can’t this be done in parallel to calling for Civil Nomination or restarting the 5-step public consultation?

    The 831 Standing Committee decision cannot be changed by HK unilaterally. The HK/Central Government would actually be very happy to fight this fight and drag it on just as they did with the occupation. The pan-democrats can veto the government proposal all they want, which would simply mean we face the dire possibility of relying on the Election Committee to choose our leader for us again in 2017. 無限重生!



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