The Hong Kong Police Force's anger over being perceived as the “bad guys” during protests over a controversial extradition bill has reached the “boiling point,” according to reports. Their ire is directed at pro-democracy opposition leaders who have tried to portray the police force as defending a government that is subverting the laws it is supposed to uphold.

The protests stem from a proposed extradition bill, formally called the Fugitive Bill, that is very unpopular with the public. The bill seeks to allow extradition of people to countries with whom there are no formal extradition agreements, including China. Currently, Hong Kong has agreements with 20 countries including the United States and U.K.

The lack of extradition agreement with China stems from the “One Country, Two Systems” philosophy that began in 1997 when the control of Hong Kong was passed from the U.K. to China. The protesters fear that the law will allow China to extradite anyone on trumped-up charges if they set foot inside the territory.

The controversial bill was introduced by the government when Tong-Kai Chan, who is a Hong Kong national, confessed to the brutal murder of his girlfriend after a fight over her pregnancy by another man. He admitted bashing her head against the wall and strangling her before stuffing her in a suitcase that he later disposed of in a park outside Taipei. He then fled back to Hong Kong with some valuables that he had taken from the dead woman.

The lack of any extradition agreement meant that the only charges he could face in Hong Kong were for money laundering based on the stolen goods. He was sentenced to 29 months and could be released as early as October. Taipei has said it will not seek extradition, but some senior government officials say they still need to pass the bill by July.

There are many accounts of violence toward the police including:

  • A sergeant lost part of his finger when it was bitten off by a protester.
  • A constable was kicked off an escalator and brutally beaten as he fell to the ground.
  • Two officers were severely injured when they were attacked with bricks and other hard objects.
  • Thousands of protesters barricaded the police headquarters exits and pelted the walls with eggs while spray painting graffiti.

The police force is upset because they feel that society has glorified the radical protesters and made them the enemy, said a report in the South China Morning Post.  Plain-clothes police have said that improved tactics were needed, and that extra equipment would not protect them from crazed “zombie like” protesters who would use any means to harm officers.