A protest rally on Saturday against noise pollution at Tuen Mun park descended into chaos with police firing tear gas after protesters threw petrol bombs and set up road barricades in the area.
The rally organisers had ended the march early, blaming the police of deploying anti-riot force unnecessarily and creating tension.
Scuffles broke out between the police and protesters near the Tuen Mun light rail station after the demonstrators were accused of shining laser pointers at officers who were on standby.
Some of the protesters gathered near the station after completing a police-approved march from San Wo Lane Playground to the Tuen Mun government offices near Tuen Mun Park. They then shone laser pointers, damaged station facilities such as fire hoses and sprayed water at officers.
The police retaliated with pepper spray and fired several rounds of sponge bullets in an attempt to control the situation.
Officers also fired tear gas near Tuen Mun Town Plaza after protesters hurled bricks and what appeared to be petrol bombs at the police. Several arrests had been made.
In a statement, police said "radical protestors damaged the facilities of Tuen Mun Light Rail Station with metal rods, hurled objects into the Light Rail track and set barricades" in the area.
They said protesters also threw petrol bombs "posing a serious threat to the safety of others and police officers at scene".
Earlier, black-clad protesters also took down a national flag from a flag pole outside the Tuen Mun Town Hall and set it on fire. Firefighters arrived at the scene soon after to put out the flames.
The organiser of the protest, meanwhile, announced the ending of the march at around 4pm – an hour earlier than scheduled, blaming the police for escalating tensions.
Rally organiser Michael Mo said police deployed armed officers in an "unncessary manner", forcing them to end the rally early.
"The fact that the police deployed anti-riot forces instead of uniformed officers to negotiate with us will only escalate tension between protesters and police. Such escalation is completely unnecessary," he said.
Last updated: 2019-09-21 HKT 17:26