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Police face mounting brutality claims after Hong Kong clashes

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THEIR motto has been “Asia’s Finest” since colonial times, but videos of Hong Kong police beating unarmed protesters have fuelled public anger and sparked accusations of brutality.

Tens of thousands of demonstrators occupying city streets scattered when police used tear gas, pepper spray, rubber bullets and bean bag rounds on Wednesday.

Police insisted the force was necessary to fend off protesters throwing bricks and metal bars.

But critics said officers used localised violence by small groups of hardcore activists to launch an unprecedented operation against the much larger mass of peaceful protesters who had taken over parts of the city on Wednesday.

SEE ALSO: Hong Kong leader refuses to scrap extradition bill despite rally

Criticism of police tactics poured in Thursday as videos of the clashes went viral.

The Hong Kong Bar Association slammed the “deployment of wholly unnecessary force against largely unarmed protesters who did not appear to pose any immediate threat to the police or the public at large.”

The group said the police “may well have over-stepped its lawful powers in maintaining public order.”

An influential legal group on a committee that elects Hong Kong’s leader called for an........

© Asian Correspondent