The UK is suspending future gross sales of teargas and different crowd management tools to Hong Kong till an impartial investigation is held into allegations of police brutality throughout mass protests earlier this month.
The international secretary, Jeremy Hunt, who’s campaigning to be the subsequent prime minister, stated no new export licences can be permitted till considerations about human rights abuses had been “completely addressed”. His assertion appeared to depart current export licences untouched, together with open licences not as a result of expire till 2020.
“We stay very involved with the scenario in Hong Kong and I raised these considerations with the chief government [Carrie Lam, the semi-autonomous territory’s leader] on the 12th of June,” Hunt stated. “I immediately urge the Hong Kong authorities to determine a strong impartial investigation into the violent scenes that we noticed.”
Hong Kong police used teargas and rubber bullets in opposition to protesters against a proposed extradition legislation they stated would enable China to focus on political enemies and check out them in its opaque courts, the place the conviction fee is as excessive as 99%. A few of the tools utilized by police was bought by British corporations.
Britain dominated Hong Kong from 1842 to 1997, when it handed the colony again to China.
A authorities supply stated: “Because it stands all licences for any crowd management tools have been exhausted, so there are not any current licences that might imply we may proceed to promote crowd management tools to Hong Kong.”
Amnesty Worldwide has stated consultants in policing and digital verification examined footage of 14 incidents of obvious police violence throughout a protest on 12 June intimately.
“The proof of the illegal use of power by police in opposition to peaceable protesters on 12 June is irrefutable. Within the footage Amnesty has verified, cops seem uncontrolled, putting peaceable protesters who posed no risk in peril of significant damage,” stated Man-kei Tam, the director of Amnesty Worldwide Hong Kong.
On 15 June Lam promised to indefinitely droop efforts to go the legislation.
Emily Thornberry, the shadow international secretary, stated there was a necessity for a “root and department” reform of the arms export regime. “If exported objects from the UK are getting used for inside repression of protest in any nation, that may be a clear breach of the foundations on arms exports licences,” she stated.
Ministers have allowed a number of licences allowing the exportation to Hong Kong of kit together with anti-riot shields, physique armour, CS hand grenades and ammunition. These embrace two open licences, granted in 2015 and 2016, underneath which a limiteless amount of fabric could be bought for 5 years. This might counsel that except current licences are revoked, a degree not coated within the international secretary’s assertion, exports can proceed till 2020.