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UK stops selling tear gas & rubber bullets to Hong Kong

The suspension comes after reports of police brutality during the protests.

Andrew Koay | June 26, 06:08 pm

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The United Kingdom is suspending the future sale of crowd control equipment to Hong Kong amidst controversy over police brutality against protesters.

Concerns over abuses

According to The Guardian, British foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt has said that new licences for the export of products such as tear gas and rubber bullets would not be issued until concerns about human rights abuses were “thoroughly addressed”.

He was quoted by The Guardian as saying: “We remain very concerned with the situation in Hong Kong and I raised those concerns with the chief executive [Carrie Lam] on the 12th of June”.

“I today urge the Hong Kong government to establish a robust independent investigation into the violent scenes that we saw.”

Hunt is currently campaigning to be the next British prime minister.

Police brutality

Reports of police brutality come in the aftermath of protests held in Hong Kong over a proposed extradition law.

Videos circulated on social media showed police using tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse crowds.

One video also showed a downed female protester being beaten by police.

Hong Kong police caught on video brutally beating young girl during protests

Amnesty International has called the evidence of police using unlawful force against peaceful protesters “irrefutable”.

Lam has since indefinitely suspended the efforts to pass the law.

Protesters fear that the extradition law would allow China to target and persecute political dissidents.

Export licences

AFP reported that the British ministry as saying that the last U.K. export licence of tear gas hand grenades and cartridges — to be used by Hong Kong police in training — was issued in July 2018.

Additionally, the last export licence for rubber bullets was issued in July 2015, while a licence for riot shields was rejected earlier this year in April.

The Guardian reported that two open licences for crowd control equipment were approved in 2015 and 2016, which would allow the unlimited sale of equipment to Hong Kong for five years.

This might mean that unless the licences are revoked, exports can continue until 2020.

Related stories:

Hong Kong reporters wear helmets to indoor police press conference to highlight police brutality

HK police spray tear gas & pepper spray, shoot rubber bullets & throw smoke bombs at protesters

Hong Kong protestors putting out tear gas canisters with water bottles as a team is almost metaphorical

Top image screenshot from Lianain Films Facebook page

About Andrew Koay

Andrew listens to Fall Out Boy's timeless hit song Sugar, We're Goin Down every single day of his life.

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