A report published by the Hong Kong police's watchdog revealed that the city's conduct in handling the protests had "many shortcomings" including the use of excessive force such as tear gas on demonstrators.
The Independent Police Complaints Council (IPCC) found several shortcomings including lack of communication between frontline commanders during the protest march and failure to distinguish between violent and peaceful demonstrators, the Hong Kong Economic Journal was quoted as stating on Monday.
The 300-page report also revealed the police officers lacked a proper understanding of the "cease-fire" guidelines such as the number of shots to fire and how often to fire during the launch of tear gas to disperse crowds.
While the report has not been officially released and awaits approval by the General Assembly, the probe will be discussed by the IPCC this week. The report will then be sent to Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam in the upcoming weeks before being officially published, according to Bloomberg.
Independent inquiry or state interference?
The Hong Kong Police Force has not commented on the findings but continues to defend its actions against demonstrator's use of petrol bombs, and attacking officers during recurrent protests.
Political unrest continues in Hong Kong after Lam refused the protesters' demand for an independent inquiry on the city police using excessive force during the protests stating that the IPCC will be responsible to conduct a probe on the matter. Protesters have expressed their doubts on the findings by the IPCC's inquiry, accusing the agency of not being entirely 'independent' from state interference.
Foreign experts step down from IPCC report
The news comes a month after a panel comprising of foreign experts overseeing the IPCC investigation on the Hong Kong police's conduct during the protests stepped down citing lack of "any agreed process" between them and the police watchdog agency. The experts said the IPCC lacked the required power "to meet the standards citizens of Hong Kong would likely require" in a society that "values freedom and rights".
"While we assessed that meaningful progress had been made in data collection and analysis, we ultimately concluded that a crucial shortfall was evident in the powers, capacity and independent investigative capability of IPCC," the experts were quoted as saying in December last year.
Human Rights Watchdog's executive denied entry to Hong Kong
The findings by the IPCC also came a day after the executive director of Human Rights Watch, Kenneth Roth, was denied entry in Hong Kong. Roth, who traveled to Hong Kong to launch the international watchdog organisation's "World's Report 2020" on January 15, said he was denied entry on Sunday.
Stating that the authorities at the Hong Kong International Airport have not cited why he was barred from entering, Roth in a tweeted video said, "I had hoped to spotlight Beijing's deepening assault on international efforts to uphold human rights. The refusal to let me enter Hong Kong vividly illustrates the problem."
While the authorities at the Hong Kong International Airport have not revealed why Roth was barred from entering the Chinese city, an introductory essay to the report written by him read the Chinese government is "carrying out an intensive attack on the global system for enforcing human rights." A statement released by the Human Rights Watch revealed the report will now be launched by Roth on January 14 in New York, US.