HONG KONG: Hong Kong police said they arrested 51 people and seized a large number of offensive weapons and raw materials of dangerous goods during a series of raids on Monday (Sep 30) and Tuesday.
The operation covered 48 premises suspected to be linked to the manufacturing of petrol bombs and explosives, according to a post on the Hong Kong Police Facebook page.
The items included naphtha, thinner, glass bottles, chemical powder, lighter gas and firecrackers. Weapons such as folding knives, slight shots, steel beads and extendable poles were also taken.
“A large number of offensive weapons, raw materials of dangerous goods and protective gear suspected to be related to the recent protests were siezed,” the post said.
“Police will not tolerate any violent behaviour for any purpose and strongly condemn the escalating means of violence.”
Seven women and 44 men, aged between 15 and 44, were arrested. Their offences include possession of offensive weapons, unlawful assembly, possession of dangerous goods and possession of instrument fit for unlawful purposes.
They are being detained for “further inquiries”, police said.
“Police reiterate that manufacturing or storing dangerous goods in premises is very dangerous and irresponsible as it poses a serious threat to residents nearby and public safety."
Millions have taken to the streets of Hong Kong in increasingly violent protests since June, often clashing with the police.
The protests were initially sparked by a now-scrapped extradition Bill, but have since snowballed into a much wider movement of popular anger against city leaders and Beijing.
The Chinese territory has been on edge for weeks in anticipation of violent protests on Tuesday's 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China.
On Tuesday, a Hong Kong police officer shot a protester in the chest after he and his unit were attacked by demonstrators during sustained clashes in the city, a police source told AFP.
A video of the man who was reportedly shot has surfaced on Facebook. He is seen lying on the ground, saying: "Send me to the hospital. My chest is hurting."
A Hospital Authority spokeswoman told AFP that 15 people had been admitted to hospitals across the city following Tuesday's clashes, one of whom was in a critical condition at Princess Margaret.
She would not confirm if the critical patient was the man who had been shot.
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