Police suspect Chinese University of Hong Kong used as 'weapons factory' during protests

Police suspect Chinese University of Hong Kong used as 'weapons factory' during protests

A protester releases a fire arrow with his bow to light a barricade
A protester releases a fire arrow with his bow to light a barricade at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), Nov 13, 2019. (Photo: AFP/Anthony Wallace)

HONG KONG: Hong Kong police said on Wednesday (Nov 13) that the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) campus may have been used as a makeshift "weapons factory" during violent overnight standoffs against anti-government protesters on Tuesday.

Chief Superintendent Tse Chun-chung said at a press conference that the student protesters used petrol bombs, bows and arrows and javelins to target police officers, reaching a "very dangerous and even deadly" level of violence.

"One may ask where did all these petrol bombs and weapons come from, where were they were made, how were they mobilised within such a short time. We have strong suspicion that the school (Chinese University of Hong Kong) was used as a weapons factory, these necessitate police respond and the use of force, including rubber bullets, bean bag round and tear gas for dispersal," he said.

"Who would have imagined a university has become a manufacturing base for petrol bombs and a refuge for rioters and criminals?"

READ: Protesters block central Hong Kong streets as chaos grips city

READ: Hong Kong to shut all schools on Thursday for 'safety reasons'

Police responded by firing volleys of tear gas, rubber bullets and bean bag rounds, marking the first time officers used force on campus grounds. 

The usually placid hillside grounds of CUHK, located in the New Territories, became the epicentre of clashes that broke out across the city's universities.

Collection of Molotov cocktails
Protesters sit on a sofa next to a collection of Molotov cocktails in front of a burning barricade at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), Nov 13, 2019. (Photo: AFP/Anthony Wallace)

Protesters at the Chinese University in Hong Kong
Molotov cocktails are pictured at the campus of the Chinese University in Hong Kong, China, Nov 13, 2019. (Photo: Reuters/Thomas Peter)

CUHK on Wednesday announced a premature end to the semester, in view of the escalation of violence, continuous disruption to public transport services and damage done to campus facilities.

"All classes ... conducted on campus are called off with immediate effect until the beginning of Term 2 on Jan 6 2020," the school said in a statement.

All schools in the city were ordered to close on Thursday due to "transportation and safety reasons", the Hong Kong Education Bureau said.

READ: DBS branch in Hong Kong not damaged by fire seen in online video

READ: Hong Kong's biggest charity walk cancelled as protests continue

Molotov cocktails prepared by protesters are seen in boxes
Molotov cocktails prepared by protesters are seen in boxes on a road at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), Nov 13, 2019. (Photo: AFP/Anthony Wallace)

Until this week protests had generally been confined to evenings or weekends.

The largely anonymous protest movement's new strategy of "blossom everywhere" has seen three straight days of maximum disruption that began on Monday, in which small groups of people target as many parts of the city as possible to cause maximum disruption and stretch police resources.

MORE: Our coverage of the Hong Kong protests

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Source: CNA/Reuters/nh

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