Hundreds of people besieged Sham Shiu Po Police Station on Tuesday night, demanding the release of a university student leader who has been accused of possessing offensive weapons.
As the crowd refused to leave despite police warnings, officers fired multiple canisters of tear gas at them and arrested several protesters during the chaos, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
The incident came a few hours after Keith Fong Chung-yin, president of the Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU) Students’ Union, was arrested and accused of possessing offensive weapons.
In a video clip doing the rounds on social media, Fong was approached by several plainclothes police officers after he bought several items in Sham Shui Po.
The officers found 10 laser pointers in his plastic bag, after which he felt sick and was taken to the Caritas Medical Centre.
Although a laser pointer is normally used in business and classroom presentations to highlight certain images or numbers, police said an object can be considered an offensive weapon if it is used to attack a person.
During recent clashes, some protesters were seen flashing laser at police officers, some of whom felt unwell, police said.
Soon after learning what happened to Fong, student unions of Baptist University and 11 other tertiary institutions issued a joint statement demanding his immediate release.
In the statement, they condemned the police for indiscriminately arresting innocent people and slammed the administration for suppressing academic freedom and creating a climate of fear, RTHK reported.
HKBU president Professor Roland Chin Tai-hong, accompanied by a lawyer, went to the hospital to check on Fong.
Later in the night, several hundred people gathered at Sham Shui Po Police Station demanding that the police explain why Fong was arrested and release him.
Some of them sprayed graffiti on the walls outside the station while others shone lasers at the officers inside.
Sometime after 11 p.m., police fired tear gas at the crowd from inside the station, and riot police later arrived at the scene to conduct a dispersal operation.
By around 1 a.m. on Wednesday, most of the protesters had left, RTHK said.
Chin, in a letter to students, staff and alumni on Wednesday, said the university is concerned about Fong’s arrest.
He also said that aside from Fong, another HKBU student was arrested near the police station on Tuesday night.
The university spoke to the police on Wednesday morning and asked them to ensure that the HKBU students are treated fairly, Chin said.
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