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The current protests in Hong Kong have set me wondering where the police force are recruited from. Are they people who grew up in HK, or have they been bought in from mainland China?

I ask because a standard imperialist tactic is to enforce your rule on province X using police or troops from province Y. That way your forces are not likely to be shooting their own friends and relatives.

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The police force in Hong Kong is drawn exclusively from people residing in Hong Kong. From the entry requirements page of the recruitment section of the HK police force's website:

If you wish to join the Hong Kong Police Force as Inspector or Constable, you are expected to meet the requirements listed below.

Nationality

You must be a permanent resident of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and have lived in Hong Kong for at least seven years.

...

The auxiliary/reserve police force has the same requirements, so it is safe to say that the vast majority of the police force is native to Hong Kong, with some smaller fraction being long-term residents originally from elsewhere.

  • I want to add that, as a basic constitutional principle, almost if not all positions in the public service are open to only Hong Kong permanent residents. All political offices are also available only to PRs. – xuq01 Jul 5 at 23:38
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Currently, most of the police officers are Hong Kong citizens. There have been rumors that some officers who were on duty in the recent protests are not Hong Kong police but their Mainland counterparts.

Indeed, some local officers may refrain from attacking Hong Kong citizens. However, deindividuation is a crucial part of disciplined forces' training, therefore officers would obey their seniors' command hysterically, even though these orders may not be reasonable.

Police brutality has been a serious issue in all countries. In most democratic countries, these officers will be sent through judical process and bare consequences. However, our government in Hong Kong not only not condemn the ruthless acts of some police officers but also claiming that they would support the officers no mwtter what, indirectly supporting the Police's murderous acts.

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I am from Hong Kong and I want to share some of my specluations.

As answered from others, Hong Kong Police recruits from Hong Kong permanent residents.

For the second part of the question, I believe the police on the front line simply follow the order of the senior officers.

Violence from the police on 12 Jun, starting from 0:37

There was massive yet peaceful protest on that day while the authority blocked the citizens from entering the protest area of the LEGCO (Legislative Council) Building. Around 15:40, some people escalated their demonstration and began to force their way to there. Few of them threw bricks to the police and advanced with umbrella. The police then started to strike back. The video shows the police used tear gas against unarmed people (which I would say the majority of the protesters) and even beat up reporters.

An article by a witness of Siege of CITIC Tower, where the protest took place nearby The witness stressed that the protesters being pushed back from the police already clogged outside the building and they were trying to enter to the building to escape. Even so, the police continued to fire tear gas to the crowd and cause great chaos.

On 21 Jun, due to the outrage against the police excessive force against protest on 12 Jun, people blocked all exits and roads of Police Headquarter since 11:00 till midnight of next day. Despite of such provoking act (from the police perspective), the police simply discharge their staff since noon and left some inside without taking action to drive out the crowd until the early morning of next day.

Encircling of Police Headquarter on 21 Jun

On 1 Jul, another large protest broke out again since noon. This time people equipped with safety gears (which were actually for construction purpose, simply to those on the people of above link) stormed the LEGCO building twice on that day. First one happened around 13:30. Police defended inside the building when people outside were trying to broke the glass wall of the building. Police took no action.

At 21:00, protesters broke the gate of the LEGCO Building and stormed into it. Despite of well preparation and equipment behind the gate, police again took no action and retreated.

Storming of LEGCO building on 1 Jul

To conclude, the police force is a well-trained force and strictly followed the order. From the above events, you may observe the police can ruthlessly beat any people including reporters or ignore the sabotage in front of them, depending on the orders. I am afraid if one day they receive the order of shooting Hong Kong citizens they may choose to follow the order as they already labeled those people as "rioters" who have to be eliminated by any means.

Statement of Junior Police Officers' Association

  • Thanks for this. You wrote "I believe the police on the front line simply follow the order of the senior officers." That is the million dollar question. If the police ever did refuse to obey orders then the only way to keep HK in China would be a military invasion of the sort that ended the Prague Spring, but this time watched by thousands of cellphones. If I were Stephen Lo (the police commander) my biggest concern would be judging just how far I could order the police to go. – Paul Johnson Jul 5 at 8:19
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According to many of the protesters, the special tactical squad(STS), refuses to show their police badge, which leads to many of the protesters wonder if the STS are not local to Hong Kong.

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