Chemical composition of the teargas used in the protest this year

The request was partially successful.

Dear Hong Kong Police Force Operations Wing,

I would like to know what information there is on the chemical composition of the teargas the police has been using in the protests in Hong Kong.

In particular I would like to know the following. What information has the manufacturers provided to you on the chemical composition of your tear gas? Have you tested this yourself, both in terms of before deployment and after deployment, to look at potential byproducts and pollutants when the canisters have burnt? How is testing and quality control carried out, and what is your policy regarding expiry dates? Have public health and environmental health professionals (e.g. Hospital Authority, Health Department, Environmental Production Department) been consulted on its use? What guidelines and recommendations do you have for cleaning up after deployment? This information is obviously useful for the schools and private residences that need to clean up after being exposed to tear gas from the protests.

If you are not the correct department to talk to here, please let me know which department this should be.

Yours faithfully,

S.C. Edmunds, ODHK

香港警務處 行動部

Dear Mr. Edmunds,

This is to acknowledge the receipt of your request for information under
the Code on Access to Information vide preceding email.

The request is being processed by this Wing and you will be informed of
the progress in due course.

Thank you for your kind attention.

Regards,
Queenie
SEO OPS
Tel: 3660 7387
Fax: 2294 0002

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"Scott Edmunds" To: "FOI requests at Hong
<[FOI #424 email]> Kong Police Force
Operations Wing"
<[Hong Kong Police Force Operations Wing request email]>
  2019/11/29 15:53 Cc:
Subject: Freedom of Information
request - Chemical
Reference: composition of the
teargas used in the
protest this year

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear Hong Kong Police Force Operations Wing,

I would like to know what information there is on the chemical composition
of the teargas the police has been using in the protests in Hong Kong.  

In particular I would like to know the following. What information has the
manufacturers provided to you on the chemical composition of your tear
gas? Have you tested this yourself, both in terms of before deployment and
after deployment, to look at potential byproducts and pollutants when the
canisters have burnt? How is testing and quality control carried out, and
what is your policy regarding expiry dates? Have public health and
environmental health professionals (e.g. Hospital Authority, Health
Department, Environmental Production Department) been consulted on its
use? What guidelines and recommendations do you have for cleaning up after
deployment? This information is obviously useful for the schools and
private residences that need to clean up after being exposed to tear gas
from the protests.

If you are not the correct department to talk to here, please let me know
which department this should be.

Yours faithfully,

S.C. Edmunds, ODHK

-------------------------------------------------------------------

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香港警務處 行動部

Dear Mr Edmunds,
I refer to your request for information under the Code on Access to
Information (the Code) dated 2019-11-29 addressed to this Department.

Operations Wing is now processing your request.  In accordance with the
Code para. 1.16, you will be further advised on or before 2019-12-19.  

Thank you for your attention.

Ms Queenie LOO
Senior Executive Officer (Operations)
for Commissioner of Police

*** This e-mail message (together with any attachments) is for the
designated recipient only. It may contain information that is privileged.
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use, retention, disclosure, copying, printing, forwarding or dissemination
of the message is strictly prohibited. If you have received the message in
error, please erase all copies of the message (including attachments) from
your system and notify the sender immediately. ***
*** 此電郵訊息(連同任何附件)只發送給指定收件人。訊息可能包含享有特權資料。
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香港警務處 行動部

Dear Mr Edmunds,
I refer to your email sent to this Department on 2019-11-29.  The
information in response to the queries concerning this Department is as
follows:

The Police have always adhered to a set of policies and procedures on
procurement of equipment and ammunition for deployment by officers when
handling violent demonstrations, so as to increase their operational
efficacy and versatility whilst protecting their personal safety.  To meet
the operational need, the Police have procured various types of equipment
and ammunition from different sources across the world, after conducting
market research and testing, in order to make sure that the procured
equipment and ammunition are able to meet both safety standards and
operational needs.  Details of the testing concerns the operational
matters of the Police and the disclosure of such may allow those with ill
intent to disrupt Police’s enforcement actions, thereby harming or
prejudicing the preservation of the peace, public safety or order, or the
preservation of property.  In accordance the paragraph 2.6(f) of the Code
on Access to Information, the request could not be acceded to.

The tear gas ammunition used by the Police contains an active ingredient
known as CS (2-chlorobenzalmalononitrile) that it is a non-lethal weapon
and being commonly used by overseas police forces including France, Italy,
USA, etc.  It aims at effectively creating a safe distance between Police
officers and violent protestors, dispersing crowds and minimising the
chance of injuries.  Persons exposed to CS gas will exhibit symptoms
including skin and eye irritation, coughing, sneezing and shortness of
breath.  The person will normally recover within 15 to 30 minutes after
leaving the affected area.
As also advised by the Department of Health, skin exposed to tear gas
should be washed thoroughly with water and soap and contaminated clothing
should be changed.  Eyes with discomfort should be irrigated with large
amount of water or saline.  For persons who are in an indoor environment
when tear gas is being released nearby, they should close all doors and
windows, turn off the air conditioner, and could seal the gaps over the
doors and windows with wet towels.

The information about the composition of tear gas concerns the operational
matters of the Police and the disclosure of such may allow those with ill
intent to disrupt Police’s enforcement actions, thereby harming or
prejudicing the preservation of the peace, public safety or order, or the
preservation of property.  In accordance the paragraph 2.6(f) of the Code
on Access to Information, the request could not be acceded to.
You may also refer to the below hyperlinks on the Government’s press
releases and information regarding the issues of "Tear gas residue",
"Chemicals used to disperse demonstrators" and "Health Information on Tear
Gas":
[1]https://www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/2019...
[2]https://www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/2019...
[3]https://www.chp.gov.hk/en/healthtopics/c...
If you believe that this Department has failed to properly apply any
provision of the Code, you may complain to The Ombudsman.  The Ombudsman’s
contact details are as follows:
30/F, China Merchants Tower Shun Tak Centre
168-200 Connaught Road Central Hong Kong
Telephone:        (852) 2629 0555
Fax:                (852) 2882 8149

Thank you for your kind attention.

Ms Queenie LOO
Senior Executive Officer (Operations Wing)
for Commissioner of Police

*** This e-mail message (together with any attachments) is for the
designated recipient only. It may contain information that is privileged.
If you are not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any
use, retention, disclosure, copying, printing, forwarding or dissemination
of the message is strictly prohibited. If you have received the message in
error, please erase all copies of the message (including attachments) from
your system and notify the sender immediately. ***
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謹此通知,如你並非預定收件人,嚴禁使用、保留、披露、複製、列印、轉發或發布
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