The press conference held by the Practising Pharmacists Association of Hong Kong (PPAHK) on the afternoon of 3 July 2019 stated the organisation’s intention of writing to Chief Executive Carrie Lam and police chief Stephen Lo. The president of the organisation, Iris Chang, claimed to have received more than 50 complaints from bystanders who have been affected to varying degrees by the use of tear gas and pepper spray. It has been noted that the use of these chemical agents may cause temporary strain on normal activities for healthy people, and may cause adverse effects on those who are allergic to such substances, causing temporary unconsciousness, difficulty in breathing or death.
In light of this, PPAHK has advised more cautious and rational use of tear gas and pepper spray, and should the police force deem it rational and necessary to use them, the evacuation of shops and citizens nearby before the use of these chemical agents to prevent further harm done on bystanders in similar events thereafter. It is believed that the cautious use of tear gas and pepper spray will also minimise the use of similar chemical substances as retaliation by the protestors.
We, as future healthcare professionals, do not hope to see any citizen injured due to any irrational use of chemical agents, including but not limited to the use of chemicals without the suggested safe distance, the use of chemicals on body parts that may cause casualties, and the use of chemicals such that bystanders may be affected. Should any chemical agents be used, we hope that such measures are the necessary ways to solve the intended conflict, and that no abuse of chemical substances will be afflicted upon citizens.
We, as pharmacy students from the University of Hong Kong, hereby show our support towards the suggestion made by PPAHK. The widespread and irrational use of any chemical agents, either by the police force or the protestors, should not be encouraged due to the harmful nature of these substances.
Pharmacy Society, Medical Society, HKUSU