5 responses to “How To Survive A Riot When All Hell Breaks Loose

  1. In Hongkong in hte mid 70’s there was an incident where two groups of 40 odd students co ordinated a riot in two locations.
    Area 1. They were faced with a silent wall of shields.
    The Chinese officer in charge was an old hand, senior sgt rank, respected.
    No talking in the ranks, no movement unless they came within baton range.
    The students charged the wall and were batoned off.
    Then the wall reformed and just stood there as before. Silent.
    There was no second charge.

    Area 2. An inexperienced officer in charge (European, new to Hongkong), was sending out ‘snatch squads’ to pick off the ring leaders.
    They got hammered big time.
    Then a petrol bomb was thrown. The thrower was put down with a shotgun.
    What happened next was the small group grew rapidly as locals joined in against the “police brutality”.

    Area 1 was repositioned to support area 2.
    It arrived on the rush, formed ranks and just stood there as before.
    Word spread. Area 1’s squad was not to be mucked about with.
    The riot dispersed in minutes.

    The two commanders faced an inquiry.
    The european (well versed in Western riot tactics) railed against the Chinese sgt.
    for showing a lack of aggresiveness.
    The sgt said his experience was if you give them no reason to fight they won’t.
    So apart from reacting to direct attack, they let the rioters stand and yell and curse until they got tired.

    So I’ve got a question. Who was right?
    Experience of ‘people management’ or Western ‘smack someone round the head’ tactics.

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    • Silence and hold the line, is correct until, lines are broken, then grab bodies. We too were told to “give the impression”, but do nothing at all. Used to bother the hell out of me, who was like the American football player Dick Butkus, because I wanted to put the hit on many. Then I suddenly said to hell with it all, and nothing was on the level. I didn’t even want to be ordered to “riots” or mobilization, because they became bogus and politically correct. Years before that, we did not have shield numbers on our helmets. So, what we did was remove our shields and collar insignia that told of what command we were with. People understood. They were going to have their heads busted open. They always were very apprehensive until badges were ordered to remain on, and collar brass to remain on, and helmets were emblazoned with shield numbers. Let the rioters burn the place down and the insurance companies will sort out the claims against property damage. I carried a Cocobolo nightstick, then the brass said I could no longer use the heavy wood and the soft pine nightstick was to be used. An old timer, taught me to get a five gallon pail and fill it half way with water and leave the pine stick in it overnight. It soaked the water and weighed a ton. If used and the stick went to the lab to be sliced at one inch intervals, the water evaporated and it weighed exactly what an issue pine nightstick should. No cork insert. No lead poured into a drilled hollow. Only a regulation piece of chickshit wood.

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