Activist Calls on U.S. to Stop Selling Tear Gas to Hong Kong
(Bloomberg) -- Joshua Wong, the student activist who shot to fame during Hong Kong’s Umbrella Movement protests five years ago, said the U.S. government should suspend sales of riot gear to the city to prevent human-rights abuses as the weeks-long demonstrations intensify.
In a tweet on Monday, Wong attached pictures of riot police shooting at protesters and some close ups of a tear-gas canister made by Homer City, Pennsylvania-based NonLethal Technologies Inc. A day earlier, Wong tweeted pictures of rubber-bullet shells made by ALS, a unit of Perry, Florida-based Pacem Defense Co. It wasn’t immediately clear how much of Hong Kong’s crowd-control supplies originated from the companies, or from the U.S.
Wong said in an interview that he tweeted the photos not because he’s specifically targeting the two companies but because it appeared as though the products were being used in Hong Kong for the first time last weekend. He also criticized the local police’s use of force on protesters.
“One year ago, who would have imagined the police in Hong Kong would attack ordinary citizens with such extreme force?” Wong said. “Governments and companies should not allow the police to use their equipment to harm ordinary citizens and peaceful protesters.”
Getting singled out by a prominent activist could make the U.S. companies the latest corporate casualties caught in the middle of the ongoing Hong Kong protests, which have lasted for eight straight weekends. Injuries -- some of them serious -- have been reported among demonstrators and police.
In his tweet, Wong also pointed to a link of an online petition he created on July 5 directed at the White House for the same purpose. As of 3:30 p.m. in Hong Kong, the petition had only about 17% of the 100,000 signatures needed by Aug. 4 for the office of the U.S. president to respond.
Representatives for NonLethal Technologies and ALS couldn’t immediately be reached. The Hong Kong police couldn’t immediately comment.
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