Chief Inspector Sean Lin speaks in an interview in Hong Kong, south China, Aug. 21, 2019. (Xinhua/Wang Shen)
HONG KONG, Aug. 23 (Xinhua) -- The video of a police officer talking gently through a loudspeaker to dissuade a raucous crowd from besieging his police station has gone viral on social media.
Speaking in a gentle and compassionate voice, the police officer patiently explained to protesters the potential penalties they could get in great detail, the video of about two minutes shows.
"Look at your phone contacts. If you get jailed for unlawful assembly, you will lose contact of all those people for five years. Add another 10 years if you commit criminal vandalism. And if you get convicted of riot, you will lose 25 years of your life. Think about how much time it is..."
Unaffected by laser beams flashing on his face, Chief Inspector Sean Lin spoke for over half an hour from a balcony of the police building on the night of Aug. 5. "To persuade young people, you need to care for them like a parent cares for his own children, while using the words they can relate to," Lin said.
To Lin's relief, protesters gradually took his advice and started to leave. By the time reinforcement came, the crowd had already dispersed.
"We could have charged at the protesters and make a lot of arrests. But we decided to talk to them first, to help them realize what they are doing and think about whether it's worth it," Lin recalled that night when young protestors surrounded the Ma On Shan Police Station, aiming laser beams at the eyes of officers and throwing glass bottles into the complex.
The video, which was first released on Facebook by the Hong Kong Police Force on Aug. 17, got countless views and tens of thousands of likes on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and other social media platforms. Internet user left numerous comments, praising Lin and supporting Hong Kong police. "This officer is sooooo gentle so sweet," posted venger Re. "Really Hong Kong police is so restraint and rational," Akash J Dutta wrote.
Lin has been with the police force since 1996. He also has 18 years of training in negotiation under his belt and took part in more than 100 negotiating missions to help free hostages and dissuade people from committing suicides.
Also an award-winning toastmaster, Lin said he hopes the police can try persuasion more in dispersing crowds that are not so confrontational.
Listening is the key to successful negotiation. "I hope we can all listen to what the young people have to say and restore peace and stability together," Lin said.