Police in Hong Kong police have come under heavy criticism after a widely-circulated video showed officers tackling a 12-year-old girl to the ground during a pro-democracy protest.
The video, posted by the student media group of Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST), showed the girl walking along a sidewalk when riot police officers stopped her. The girl started running away before the police chased after her and tackled her to the ground.
In a statement, the force defended its officers’ actions, saying they had deployed “minimum necessary force” in the situation. It said protesters, including the girl, had been intercepted for a stop and search.
“During the interaction, she suddenly ran away in a suspicious manner,” it said. “Officers, therefore, chased and subdued her with the use of minimum necessary force.”
Police said the girl had violated the city’s ban on gatherings of more than two people, and added that she was issued a penalty ticket with a fine of $2,000 Hong Kong dollars ($258).