KEY POINTS

  • Hong Kong riot police tackled a 12-year-old girl to the ground Sunday afternoon
  • The victim had only gone out to buy school supplies when the incident occurred
  • The police department said she and her brother joined the unauthorized protest

Hong Kong police have come under fire after a shocking video showed them tackling a 12-year-old girl to the ground near a protest Sunday.  

The victim, who was identified as Pamela, had gone out to buy art supplies for school with her brother. Her family said the siblings got caught in the protest crowds in the Mong Kok area and panicked when she saw the officers, the BBC reported. 

Video footage of the incident shows two officers approaching the girl and telling her to stand still before she ran away. One of the cops tackled her to the ground while other officers attempted to hold her down. The riot police also told bystanders and journalists who were trying to help the victim to stand back. 

According to police statements, the 12-year-old took part in the unauthorised gathering. The police department said the officers used only “minimum force” and were forced to subdue the victim after she “ran away in a suspicious manner.”

“Their presence at the chaotic protest scenes also endangers their own personal safety,” police said.

The girl’s mother said they intend to sue the officers involved in the incident, The Guardian reported. She said her children were issued with penalty tickets. They were also fined for violating the city’s pandemic-related laws that prohibited gatherings of more than two people. Pamela and her brother received bruises and scratches in the incident. 

The government deployed over 2,000 police officers ahead of the gathering. They arrested nearly 300 people in Sunday’s protest. The demonstrations were initially about a proposed law that allowed the Hong Kong government to extradite citizens to mainland China. In recent weeks, the protests are criticizing the government’s decision to postpone Hong Kong’s parliament election this year. 

Carrie Lam, Hong Kong’s chief executive, said elections were postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, activists believe the government was using the COVID-19 crisis to silence the opposition and stop people from voting. 

The protesters also called for the release of the 12 people detained by China’s coast guard. The prisoners were trying to flee to Taiwan by boat when authorities captured them. 

Police arrested nearly 100 people in Hong Kong who were protesting against the cancellation of local elections Police arrested nearly 100 people in Hong Kong who were protesting against the cancellation of local elections Photo: AFP / DALE DE LA REY