HONG KONG: About 1,100 people were arrested in one day as Hong Kong police officers found more than 3,900 petrol bombs at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), the most found in one location in the city.
Speaking to reporters on Tuesday (Nov 19), a police spokesperson said staff from CUHK and the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) had reported theft of dangerous chemicals from their laboratories.
“It’s alarming that universities in Hong Kong (have) turned into weapon factories,” he said.
“Regarding the standstill at (PolyU), the police have been searching for a peaceful resolution.
“Using force has always been the last resort in response to the violence of the rioters.”
Dozens of protesters barricaded inside PolyU have refused to surrender as police laid siege on the campus for the third day in a row.
The protesters ignored police warnings and refused to leave, the police spokesperson added.
About 1,100 people were arrested in a day for offences including taking part in riots and possession of offensive weapons.
“Yesterday, as assisted by the university staff, our officers entered the campus for evidence gathering and disposal of dangerous goods. (More than) 3,900 petrol bombs were seized, which is the highest number recorded in one single location.
“I’m saddened to report that CUHK has become a manufacturing base for petrol bombs."
The stolen chemicals include “concentrated acid”, he said, adding that they were "ingredients for making petrol bombs."
The police spokesperson also warned the chemicals were "highly corrosive and toxic" and close contact with them can lead to "long-lasting and even permanent nerve damage".
READ: Anxious families wait outside besieged Hong Kong campus
“We appeal to students to mind their own safety and not come into contact with those dangerous items if found on campus or public place.”
He confirmed a “large number” of underage people were among those in the campuses. They were not “arrested immediately” and were released after they handed over their personal information to police.
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