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Fri Aug 16, 2019, 09:19 PM

Anti-Riot Bullets Made by Two Florida Companies Used to Brutalize Protesters in Hong Kong

Violent clashes between protesters and police in Hong Kong continue weeks after mass demonstrations in the city first turned ugly in June. The unrest, which began in response to a now-shelved bill that would have allowed for the extradition of people to China, has expanded to a wider struggle over Hong Kong's sovereignty and the use of excessive force by law enforcement.

Harrowing scenes of police bloodying protesters by using batons and rubber bullets have become commonplace in the local press and across social media, causing nations such as the United Kingdom to temporarily suspend sales of munitions and crowd-control equipment to Hong Kong police until human-rights concerns are addressed. The United States, another major supplier of nonlethal weapons to Hong Kong, has yet to announce whether it will enact its own export ban.

But for two Florida companies selling riot gear and nonlethal weapons, no ban means more business. Defense Technology, owned by the Jacksonville-based company Safariland, sells nonlethal weapons and riot gear; AMTEC Less-Lethal (ALS), which is part of Pacem Defense Corporation, is run out of Perry, a city about an hour southeast of Tallahassee, and offers similar products. Both have manufactured munitions being used by Hong Kong police to brutalize protesters. Neither company responded to requests for comment from New Times yesterday.

Photos circulated online in recent weeks by journalists and protesters in Hong Kong show sponge-tipped rounds and rubber-bullet casings with branding from the Florida companies. Riot police are reportedly using ALS's 1202 rubber rocket, a projectile made of rubber and plastic to produce "blunt trauma and pain compliance," according to the manufacturer. It is fired from a riot gun and has a range of about 120 feet.

Read more: https://www.browardpalmbeach.com/news/two-florida-companies-provide-anti-riot-bullets-to-hong-kong-police-10321815

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