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Lam: ‘Long road’ ahead to heal rifts in Hong Kong

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HONG KONG: Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said yesterday the police force, which has been accused of using excessive force during the protests, are under extreme pressure and acknowledged that it will be a "long road" towards healing rifts.

Beijing-backed Mrs Lam said it was "quite remarkable" there had not been fatalities during the three months of protests .

She also hoped that a dialogue session tomorrow with members of the public would help bridge the divide but conceded that "it will be a long journey to achieve reconciliation in society". Some 20,000 people have registered for the dialogue that will hold 150 participants.

Meanwhile, police cast doubt over allegations that officers beat a man during a protest on Saturday, while Amnesty International called on the government to investigate police use of force on protesters.

Police Acting Senior Superintendent Vasco Williams told reporters that footage of the alleged incident appeared to show an "officer kicking a yellow object", not a man, in an alley.

He conceded that the incident needed to be investigated, although he ruled out police "malpractice" and said the video could have been "doctored".

Mrs Lam said while she supported the police to safeguard the rule of law, "that doesn't mean that I would condone irregularities or wrong practices done by the police force".

"I know the level of mutual trust is now relatively low in Hong Kong, but we have to make sure that we can continue to operate as a civil society," she added. - REUTERS

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