HONG KONG (Reuters) – A Hong Kong riot cop who was filmed chanting “black lives matter” and “I can’t breathe” on patrol during a demonstration on Friday has been reprimanded by authorities, according to media reports.
A clip of the officer who was in Yau Ma Tei, in Hong Kong’s Kowloon neighbourhood, was posted online, including the government funded public broadcaster RTHK’s website, in which he was seen making the comments in reference to George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis on May 25 while in police custody, which sparked protests across the United States.
The man was recorded saying “black lives matters” in English and “I can’t breathe” three times each and “this is not America” in the 20-second clip that was published on the RTHK website on the weekend.
Police were carrying out identity card checks of the crowd, according to media, at the time the officer made the comments.
A Hong Kong police spokeswoman told the South China Morning Post the officer had been reprimanded over the incident.
“The officer has been rebuked and reminded to always present himself professionally and enhance his sensitivity,” the spokeswoman told the newspaper.
“Disciplinary action may ensue depending on the investigation result.”
A crowd had gathered in Yau Ma Tei on Friday night as part of protests across the city to mark the first anniversary of tear gas being fired during an anti government demonstration against the then proposed extradition bill.
The bill, which would have allowed Hong Kong citizens to be sent to mainland China for trial, has been shelved but tensions in the city remain high as Beijing moves to impose a national security law on Hong Kong.
A police statement said 43 people were arrested on Friday night.
Reporting by Scott Murdoch; Editing by Kim Coghill