Riot police in Hong Kong respond to protests against changes to extradition law with tear gas. 12 June 2019.

Verified: Hong Kong police violence against peaceful protesters

Tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets of Hong Kong on Wednesday, 12 June, in one of a series of mass protests over the past two weeks to demand the government withdraw the extradition bill. 

From late afternoon into the night on 12 June, the largely peaceful protesters faced an onslaught of tear gas, guns firing rubber bullets, pepper spray and baton charges from police to disperse the demonstration near government headquarters. These unlawful police actions posed a serious risk of severe injury, or even death, to protesters.

Amnesty International’s team of experts on policing and digital verification took a closer look at this unnecessary and excessive use of force by police. We examined in detail footage from 14 instances of apparent police violence.

Our team verified incidents of the dangerous use of rubber bullets, officers beating protesters who did not resist, aggressive tactics used by police to obstruct journalists on site and the misuse of tear gas and pepper spray.

All of the examples Amnesty International verified are violations of international law and standards on the use of force by law enforcement officials. The verified footage draws upon media coverage and as well as footage posted on social media.

The interactive map below shows incidents Amnesty International has verified. Click on a number to find out more.

[Warning: video footage contains disturbing images]

Brutal beatings of protesters

Riot police assaulted a protester      

Location: intersection of Harcourt Road and Tim Wa Avenue.

Source: Verified footage posted on social media

 Police brutally beat a female protester after she had been wrestled to the ground

 Location: Outside the Legislative Council.

Source: Apple Daily

Multiple rounds of tear gas fired at hundreds of trapped protesters

Location: 4 p.m. on 12 June outside CITIC Tower on Lung Wui Road, near Legislative Council building. 

Hundreds of protesters were cornered by police who continued to fire off rounds of tear gas.

Source: YouTube

Amnesty International observers on 12 June also witnessed the unlawful use of tear gas against peaceful protesters on Harcourt Road.

Unlawful use of rubber bullets fired into crowd of protesters

Special Tactical Squad officers fire what are thought to be rubber bullets into crowds of protesters. The footage shows a protester was hit in the face by a suspected rubber bullet. 

Location: Intersection between Harcourt Road and Cotton Tree Drive

Source: TVB News

Improper use of pepper spray

Police officer fired 14 shots of suspected pepper liquid against a man who posed no threat.

Location: Lung Wo Road.

Source: Apple Daily

Riot police blocked an MTR (subway station) exit and repeatedly used pepper spray on a group of retreating protesters.

Evening of 12 June. Exit E1 or E2 of Admiralty MTR.


Obstructing media from reporting

Special Tactical Squad used batons to disperse journalists who had made their identities clear to the police.

Location: Justice Drive

Source: RTHK Video News

Police block emergency ambulance

Location: Harcourt Road heading towards Wanchai

Source: Now TV