Lord Of The Flies – Hong Kong’s Descent Into Mob Rule

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The Mong Kok Mercedes man taken away by police.
The Mong Kok Mercedes man taken away by police after running his car into MongKok protesters. Credit: Donovan North

Police abandoned

This episode is a clear example of the consequence of not taking decisive political and judicial action when the rule of law is under attack. The police, when feeling abandoned by the system they are sworn to protect, will by necessity take it upon themselves to respond to those attacking them. No police officer deserves the degradation of having urine thrown on them just for doing their job. How the courts and police leadership respond to the charges against these officers will have a very long-term impact on the morale of police.

The police, when feeling abandoned by the system they are sworn to protect, will by necessity take it upon themselves to respond to those attacking them

Predictably, police officers become the sacrificial lambs when leaders on both sides of the protest need scapegoats to explain away their own inadequacies and failures. When criminal behavior is rewarded by ineffective political and police leadership, the result is a breakdown in the social contract between the police who serve the public and its duly appointed political masters.

It is not in the best interest of Hong Kong to have a police force that feels disenfranchised by a public that has seemingly turned against them, and a media that brays about police wrongdoing, but ignores the reality of what is actually occurring. Most importantly, the police officer on the street needs to know that he will be supported by senior police management and the political establishment, for having been sacrificed during a rough period when they had no control or say in the outcome.

The cost of conflict

Having an indifferent police force will lead to an increase in corruption, a lower solved crime rate and will lead to slower response times for service. Unfortunately, Hong Kong, through all these protests and attacks against police, have achieved a lasting legacy of mistrust between the police and segments of society that will take a very long time to heal. Those who have attacked the police have attacked the rule of law and need to be dealt with by the full force of the legal system. There has to be a consequence for violent actions against the police. Violence and threats of violence against police and their family members, has shaken the belief of the police, that they are upholding a just society with rule of law as its core foundation.

 

 

Occupy Mong Kok October 20
Police in riot gear in Mong Kok. Credit Donovan North.