‘Pre-crime’ police swoop on protesters

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Notable contrast between UK and HK

UK POLICE TOOK “pro-active action” by arresting at least 12 protesters on Friday in anticipation of crimes they may commit.

“We will take further action as required to prevent offences being committed,” warned Chief Inspector Joe Stokoe.

Protesters said the move trampled the rule of law and Britain’s fast-dwindling democratic rights.

But police said “proactive action” would “prevent and reduce criminal disruption” expected at weekend protests.

PRE-CRIME UNIT

Protesters had been planning to demonstrate outside the offices of pro-government media.

Many people have noted that the way UK police make arrests before crimes take place resembles  the activities of the “Department of Pre-Crime” in the sci-fi story and movie “Minority Report”.

Arrests for possible future offences occur increasingly in the UK but have not been seen in Hong Kong, despite our city being painted as one in which oppressive policing takes place.

Tom Cruise in Minority Report: Picture: 20th Century Fix/ Dreamworks

COMPARING UK AND HK

It is instructive to compare two specific incidents, both of which took place in September of 2019.

In Hong Kong, protesters plotted to illegally take drones to cause disruption at the airport at Chek Lap Kok. 

In London, protesters plotted to illegally take drones to cause disruption at the airport at Heathrow. 

In Hong Kong, the authorities heard about the plot and took action.

In London, the authorities heard about the plot and took action.

In Hong Kong, the action was to place a note on a government website saying: “Aviation safety is crucial to the public and passengers.”In London, the action was to send out of a squad of officers, three police vans and a police helicopter, and make the “pre-emptive” arrest of nine people in anticipation of a crime being committed.

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