‘Do you know how to de-escalate?’: Video of district councillor scolding riot police goes viral

Kwong Po-yin was filmed wagging her finger at riot police in Whampoa on Sunday evening. Screengrab via YouTube.
Kwong Po-yin was filmed wagging her finger at riot police in Whampoa on Sunday evening. Screengrab via YouTube.

A Hong Kong pro-democracy district councillor is being hailed online as a “gutsy” “badass” after a video of her scolding riot police in Whampoa on Sunday night went viral.

Video filmed by local news website Citizen News shows councillor Kwong Po-yin — her stern face and outstretched finger indicating expertise in the art of scolding — telling riot police to step back, insisting that the “local residents” gathered on the sidewalk had done nothing to warrant intimidation.

According to Ming Pao, Kwong — who was recently re-elected as district councillor for Whampoa West — was in the area after protesters who had gathered in Tsim Sha Tsui and Hung Hom for a rally on Sunday dispersed and spread into Mong Kok and Whampoa.

The newspaper’s live blog reports that at about 6pm, riot police arrived in the area and fired some tear gas rounds at the intersection between Hung Hom Road and Tak On Street. By 7pm, Kwong was at the scene telling riot police to “de-escalate” the situation and leave the area, going into full-on angry-teacher mode (she’s actually a doctor, FYI), wagging her finger at the chastened-looking officers and repeatedly telling them not to step forward.

https://twitter.com/Woppa1Woppa/status/1201327753695354880

In the background, bystanders can be heard taking Kwong’s side, telling officers, “You’re causing a mess,” and “Just leave now.”

Officers also appeared to further soften their stance when someone yells out, “She’s a district councillor.”

“Don’t step forward, you’re agitating residents, this is not how you de-escalate,” Kwong says. “Do you know how to de-escalate?”

When one of the officers replies that they’re just following the law, she replies: “This is not about the law. Look at the people here. If you step back everything will be fine. You know it, I know it.

“Our local residents want to eat dinner; you have to eat dinner, right?”

At this point, a middle-aged security guard from a building nearby saunters out as if it’s just another Sunday night and calmly asks the officers if they would “mind taking a few steps back, please,” then a few steps more, then a few steps more, until the cops have fallen back by several meters — much to the approval of the cheering crowd.

As of press time, the video of Kwong scolding the officers has been viewed more than 448,000 times on Facebook, and more than 24,000 times on Youtube.

It’s also trending on Reddit, with users leaving comments like: “She certainly has more balls than I could ever hope to have.”

One user called Kwong “the real mother of dragons,” while another commended her “7th grade science teacher ‘what the f*** are you doing?!’ attitude.”

Kwong, who is a public hospital doctor, was first elected as district councillor for Whampoa West in 2015. She was a member of the localist group Younspiration, which was created after the the 2014 Umbrella Movement, but HKFP reports that she withdrew her membership from the group in June 2016.

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