So apparently the Hong Kong authorities have had the Galaxy Brain idea of unleashing their equivalent of titushki against the Hong Kong demonstrators.
It is extremely bad optics. An article about the assaults is the top headline on /r/worldnews, probably the world’s single biggest international politics forum. A pregnant woman had a miscarriage as a result of the beatings. Of greater immediate practical concern, note that titushki beating people up was one of the main triggers that transformed the Maidan from a limited cluster of student radicals into a mass movement that toppled Yanukovych. If they wanted to anger apoliticals into picking sides and provoking a color revolution scenario, they could scarcely have chosen a better approach.
That said, there is a curious twist to the story. Commenter AquariusAnon, who is rather familiar with Hong Kong, says that the protesters are primarily young people who have been priced out of owning their own property, and not so much ideological opponents of the PRC (though it’s clear to me that many or most of them do view the PRC negatively). Who priced them out? An organization representing landowning interests called the Heung Yee Kuk. It apparently uses its political influence and ties with Triad clans to stymie real estate development in the New Territories, which constitute 86% of HK’s land area but only half its population. AA points out that the beatings occurred 20 miles from the protest site, almost at the Chinese border, i.e. where I would assume that the HYK has the greatest influence over the police (who apparently coordinated with the titushki).
I also assume that the less crony, more civilized bureaucrats who formally manage Hong Kong would have wanted to avoid this, but I suppose they will now have to do their best to mitigate the fallout over HYK’s recklessness.