Hong Kong on edge as police fire tear gas at university campus

Hong Kong on edge as police fire tear gas at university campus

City University tear gas hong kong
Tear gas was fired at City University in Hong Kong on Nov 12, 2019. (Photo: Facebook/City Broadcasting Channel)

HONG KONG: Hong Kong riot police fired tear gas at City University campus in Kowloon Tong on Tuesday (Nov 12), a day after a protester was shot and a man set on fire in some of the worst violence to rock the Chinese-ruled city in more than five months of anti-government demonstrations. 

Some railway services were suspended and roads closed across the Asian financial hub for a second day, with long traffic jams building in the morning rush hour.

Hong Kong police said on Facebook that "radical protesters" had gathered near the Student Residence of City University of Hong Kong, "throwing bricks and other hard objects from the heights to the ground".

"Some radical protesters set barricades and obstructed the junction of Cornwall Street and Tat Chee Avenue with bricks, wooden board and iron railing etc.," the police added.


READ: Hong Kong leader says protesters 'paralysing' the city are selfish

Riot police were deployed at MTR stations across the territory and large queues were forming at railway platforms as commuters made their way to work. Rail operator MTR urged people to use other forms of transport.

"It is very inconvenient for me because I have a few meetings to go to in Central," said a 38-year-old man who gave his name as Rodney and who works as a legal consultant for an international firm.

"Hopefully my partners will understand that my city is going through a tough period," he said, adding that he blames Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam for the protests.

There were chaotic scenes as passengers streamed out of at least one train that was forced to stop when barricades blocked the rail line.

Universities and schools cancelled classes, with students, teachers and parents on edge a day after police fired tear gas and students hurled petrol bombs on some campuses.

Lam said protesters who tried to paralyse the city were being extremely selfish and hoped that universities and schools would urge students not to take part in the demonstrations.

More than 260 people were arrested on Monday, police said, bringing the total number to more than 3,000 since the protests escalated in June.

The scene at Hong Kong's Central on Tuesday amid a day of violence
The scene at Hong Kong's Central on Tuesday Nov 12, 2019 during a day of violence. (Photo: CNA reader)

The metro station at Sai Wan Ho on eastern Hong Kong island, where a 21-year-old protester was shot on Monday, was among those closed.

A water cannon truck was stationed outside government headquarters, where the city's Executive Council was due to hold its weekly meeting.

READ: Hong Kong spirals into rare working-hour violence as police shoot protester

READ: Hong Kong police say man set on fire after arguing with protesters

"ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE"

On Monday, protesters reacted to the shooting of one of their own by rampaging through train stations, barricading streets and vandalising shops.

A man seen arguing with protesters was set on fire and volleys of tear gas were fired at lunchtime in the heart of the city's financial centre.

Hong Kong authorities said that both the demonstrator who was shot and the man set on fire were in critical condition in hospital.

Lam said then that the violence has exceeded protesters' demands for democracy and demonstrators are now the people's enemy.

She said the "rioters" were destroying society and would not succeed in their demands with violence in the "special administrative region" of China.

READ: ‘Wishful thinking’ that violence will force Hong Kong government to yield - Carrie Lam

"If there's still any wishful thinking that by escalating violence, the Hong Kong SAR government will yield to pressure, to satisfy the so-called political demands, I'm making this statement clear and loud here: That will not happen," she said in one of her most defiant televised addresses.

Protesters are angry about what they see as police brutality and meddling by Beijing in the freedoms guaranteed under the "one country, two systems" formula put in place when the territory returned to Chinese rule in 1997.

China denies interfering and has blamed Western countries for stirring up trouble. 

The United States on Monday condemned "unjustified use of deadly force" in the latest Hong Kong violence, while the British government said the escalation was "deeply disturbing".

US State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus also urged Beijing to honour its commitments that Hong Kong would enjoy a high degree of autonomy and human rights, including the freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.

An editorial in the state-backed China Daily newspaper condemned the violence on Monday and took aim at the "leniency of Hong Kong judges".

"Allowing (protesters) to apply for bail on easy terms and handing down extraordinarily light sentences has also served to encourage inhuman terrorist acts," it said.

MORE: Our coverage of the Hong Kong protests

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Source: Reuters/jt

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