Asia

Hong Kong police rack up US$120 million overtime bill during protests

HONG KONG: Hong Kong police officers racked up an average of US$11,000 each in overtime pay during the last six months of anti-government protests, with the total overtime bill coming to more than US$120 million, the government said on Friday (Dec 13).

Police have covered more than 900 protests since June and worked overtime only in "inevitable circumstances", the government's security bureau said in a written response to questions from pro-democracy lawmakers.

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Hong Kong has been convulsed by almost daily and often violent protests since public opposition to a now-withdrawn extradition Bill developed into demands for greater freedoms.

The security bureau said police overtime since the start of the turmoil has cost the government HK$950 million (US$121 million). Some 11,000 police officers were paid overtime, which would mean an average of HK$86,363 per officer.

READ: 'Why is the road broken?' Visually impaired Hong Kongers disoriented by protests

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The protest have regularly featured ranks of riot police firing volleys of tear gas or baton-charging protesters, often in central business or tourist areas. They in turn have been targets of petrol bombs and other projectiles hurled by protesters, many of them masked.

There have been widespread allegations of police misconduct during the protests and public satisfaction with a force once held in great respect by the public has fallen to the lowest on record, according to a poll by the Hong Kong Public Opinion Research Institute.

Police have described their actions as reactive and restrained.

READ: Hong Kong protesters mark six months since first major clash with police

READ: Hong Kongers attend service for student who died during clashes

One pro-democracy lawmaker said that Hong Kong had become a "police city".

"Many citizens must question why theRead More – Source

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