Hong Kong protesters use lasers to avoid facial recognition cameras and blind police

Protestors also using VPNs and encrypted messaging apps in an attempt to avoid state surveillance

Anthony Cuthbertson
Thursday 01 August 2019 15:42 BST
Hong Kong police fire tear gas at protesters only for wind to blow it back at them

Protesters in Hong Kong are using lasers to blind security forces and avoid facial recognition cameras used by authorities.

A video posted by freelance journalist Alessandra Bocchi revealed the tactic used against police cameras, while a separate video captured by the BBC shows protesters pointing lasers at the face of a police officer.

The police officer was brandishing a large gun at the time, having been surrounded by pro-democracy protesters outside the Kwai Chung police station.

Protests in Hong Kong are ongoing, having started in opposition to a controversial bill that would have allowed Hong Kong residents to be extradited to China.

The first demonstration against the bill was held on 31 March, although larger-scale protests have ramped up in recent weeks.

Protesters have used a number of technological tricks to stay ahead of authorities, such as using virtual private networks on their phones to hide their identity, as well as encrypted messaging services like Telegram.

They have previously used face masks to hide themselves from facial recognition cameras amid fears that security forces are cooperating with China to crack down on civil unrest.

Their efforts to hide their identities have faced disruption, with Telegram reporting a major cyber-attack against its servers in June that prevented people in Hong Kong from using its messaging app.

Telegram CEO Pavel Durov said the attacks originated from China and described them as "state actor-sized" in scale.

Security forces have also used more traditional methods to disperse protests, including tear gas, pepper spay and rubber bullets.

Protest organisers claim that close to half a million people have taken part in demonstrations, though police estimate it is closer to 100,000.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in