November 17, 2014 / 6:14 PM / 3 years ago

Britain says will not block sales of tear gas to Hong Kong

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain said on Monday that it had decided not to block the sale of tear gas to Hong Kong, having reviewed its export policy after police there used the gas against pro-democracy protesters in September.

An installation in the shape of a yellow umbrella, a symbol of the Occupy Central civil disobedience movement, is seen at their Admiralty protest site in Hong Kong November 17, 2014.. REUTERS/Bobby Yip

In a written submission to parliament on Monday, Foreign Office minister Hugo Swire said the only current license did not breach rules and would not be revoked. Swire had said in October that a review was likely in light of the Hong Kong clashes.

“The Government has reviewed licenses for tear gas exports to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government ... the Government has decided it will not be revoked on the basis that it does not contravene the consolidated criteria,” he said, referring to the rules used to control arms exports.

Swire said the government had not been able to verify pictures purporting to show that some of the canisters used by police in the Chinese-controlled city, a former British colony, had been manufactured by a British firm.

Reporting by William James and Kylie MacLellan; Editing by Catherine Evans

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