27 January 2020
Police officers point their guns at protesters during clashes in Tsuen Wan on Sunday night. Photo: Reuters
Police officers point their guns at protesters during clashes in Tsuen Wan on Sunday night. Photo: Reuters

Police chief condemns protesters’ violent acts in Tsuen Wan

Police Commissioner Stephen Lo Wai-chung condemned “violent and unlawful acts” by protesters during clashes with police on Sunday that resulted in several officers being injured and sent to hospital.

At least 15 officers were injured and sent to hospital for treatment on Sunday, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports, citing the police.

The Hospital Authority said as of Monday noon, 41 people had been injured and sent to hospitals following the unrest in Tsuen Wan. Of them, 15 were in stable condition and the rest had been discharged.

Police said on Monday they arrested 36 people, the youngest aged 12, following violent anti-government demonstrations over the weekend, Reuters reported.

Visiting the injured officers at Princess Margaret Hospital late Sunday night, Lo “expressed strong anger and condemnation against the reckless, violent and unlawful acts committed by the rioters”, a government press release said.

The police force will “strive to investigate all violent acts that have caused serious and even life-threatening injuries”, the release said.

In a statement issued early Monday morning, a government spokesman said “the escalating illegal and violent acts of radical protesters” seen on Sunday were “outrageous” and pushed Hong Kong to “the verge of a very dangerous situation”.

The spokesman urged members of the public to “combat violence and uphold the rule of law together so that order can be restored in society as soon as possible”.

The clashes came after thousands of people marched from Kwai Fong to Tsuen Wan Park on Sunday afternoon to urge the government to respond as soon as possible to the five demands made by the public in the wake of the extradition bill fiasco.

Not long after the march began, “some extremely violent protesters” in the procession “deviated from the original route, obstructing roads, vandalizing shops and tunnel facilities, hurling petrol bombs, bricks and miscellaneous objects at police officers”, a government press release issued in the early hours of Monday said.

To disperse the violent protesters, police fired tear gas and, for the first time, deployed two water cannon vehicles.

Police used the water cannons to remove makeshift barricades set up by some protesters on a road in Tsuen Wan but officers had to manually clear them in the end.

Police later tried to use the water cannons on protesters, who, however, had quickly fled the scene.

During clashes in another part of Tsuen Wan, one of the officers under attack from the protesters fired a live round into the sky, the first time it happened since the anti-government movement began in June.

“One of the police officers under attack fell onto the ground. Being surrounded, under attacks and facing threats to life, six police officers withdrew pistols and stayed on guard while giving warnings to the protestors,” according to the government press release.

“In order to protect the safety of other officers and himself, one of the police officers fired a warning shot to the sky without any other choices,” it added.

MTR Corp. on Monday shut down its Kowloon Bay headquarters for one day amid fears that staff safety may be compromised after it closed multiple stations in the vicinity of planned protests over the weekend, RTHK reported.

Staff members have been told to activate a contingency plan and not to go to work at the MTR headquarters on Monday, the broadcaster said, citing a leaked internal memo.

Six stations along the Kwun Tong line were closed for much of the day on Saturday, while three stations on the Tsuen Wan line were not in operation on Sunday.

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Police clash with protesters in Tsuen Wan on Sunday night. Photo: Reuters

Police use water cannons to try to remove barricades set up by protesters on a road in Tsuen Wan. Photo: HKEJ