Hong Kong police arrest more than 200 as protests return

Hong Kong police arrest more than 200 as protests return

Hong Kong police arrest more than 200 as protests return (1)
Police detain a group of people during a protest in Hong Kong on May 10, 2020. (Photo: AFP/ISAAC LAWRENCE)

HONG KONG: Hong Kong authorities said on Monday (May 11) they arrested 230 people during protests on the weekend after a sing-along demonstration at a shopping mall spilled out on to the streets of the city.

Hundreds of riot police were deployed to disperse the protesters on Sunday, with some members of the media caught up in the chaos that evoked memories of the sometimes violent unrest that rocked the global financial hub last year.

Police said the arrested were aged between 12 and 65 and their offences included unlawful assembly, assaulting a police officer and failing to produce proof of identity.

A 22-year-old man was found to have materials believed to be intended for making petrol bombs, police said.

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The Hospital Authority said 18 people were taken to hospital.

Images beamed live from the working class district of Mong Kok showed riot police pushing back some reporters and firing pepper spray amid chaotic scenes.

Hong Kong police arrest more than 200 as protests return (1)
Masked protesters during a protest in Mong Kok district of Hong Kong on May 10, 2020. (Photo: AFP/ISAAC LAWRENCE)

Footage showed protesters being subdued on the ground, scuffles and people bleeding.

Police fired pepper spray at journalists and activists, and conducted stop and search operations on members of the public and media.

The Hong Kong Journalists' Association (HKJA) said some members of the press were prevented from filming.

READ: China says Hong Kong will never be calm unless violent protesters removed

"Some journalists who were sprayed by pepper spray were not allowed to receive immediate treatment, and they were requested to stop filming," said Chris Yeung, chairman of the HKJA.

Police did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The outbreak of COVID-19 and strict rules to curb its spread had brought a relative lull in protests this year, but the recent arrest of activists and renewed concern about Beijing's tightening grip on the city have revived the movement.

Hong Kong police arrest more than 200 as protests return (2)
Special response police arrive during a protest in Mong Kok district of Hong Kong on May 10, 2020. (Photo: AFP/ISAAC LAWRENCE

Police in riot gear told protesters they were staging an illegal assembly and violating anti-virus measures that bar gatherings of more than eight people.

Democratic Party lawmaker Roy Kwong was arrested for "disorderly conduct in a public place", police said.

Video footage showed Kwong apparently being pushed to the ground and then surrounded by officers. He was later taken to hospital after he said he was feeling unwell.

Hong Kong police arrest more than 200 as protests return (2)
A protester is held on the ground before getting arrested by undercover police during a protest in Mong Kok district of Hong Kong on May 10, 2020. (Photo: AFP/ISAAC LAWRENCE)

The financial hub is gearing up for protests over the next few months, with activists calling for two million people to gather for an annual march on Jul 1 that marks the anniversary of its handover from British to Chinese rule in 1997.

Source: Reuters/ic

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