The Metropolitan Police Bureau (MPB) said on Thursday that full deployment of its crowd-control tools was being considered after officers were injured in a clash with pro-democracy protesters on Wednesday. The announcement signals a return to riot-control tactics such as water cannon and tear gas used by police in November.
MPB chief Pakapong Pongpetra said seven of his officers had been injured by objects thrown by protesters during the rally in Pathumwan yesterday. Eight police cars and a police motorcycle were also damaged, he said.
However, he denied that police had fired the tear gas which hit protesters, reporters and passers-by during the rally. He explained that police would normally warn protesters or people nearby before using the gas. An investigation was underway to identify who had deployed the tear gas, he added.
Pakapong did admit that smoke bombs found at the Pathumwan rally matched the ones used by police, but said they may have been stolen by protesters during previous police operations. This was also being investigated, he said.