Fires, water cannon in Wan Chai protest chaos - RTHK
Temperature Humidity
News Archive Can search within past 12 months

Fires, water cannon in Wan Chai protest chaos

2019-09-29 HKT 18:34
Share this story facebook
  • Fires, water cannon in Wan Chai protest chaos
Large areas of Hong Kong Island from Admiralty to Causeway Bay again turned to a battleground on Sunday, with anti-government demonstrators setting fires out on the streets and throwing molotov cocktails at police inside the Wan Chai MTR station, while police again brought out their water cannons and fired tear gas in some of the city's busiest areas.

There are also reports that police fired a live round as a warning shot in Wan Chai during clashes between protesters and undercover officers.

The trouble started early – with riot police unleashing the first volleys of tear gas in the heart of Causeway Bay near the Sogo department store before 2.30pm as protesters gathered to launch an unauthorised “anti-totalitarian” march meant to be held in solidarity with rallies across the globe.

The unusually early action caught even some police unprepared – some officers were spotted struggling to put on their gas masks even as clouds of smoke billowed around them.

The protesters were pushed back, and marched towards Admiralty – where they regrouped outside the government headquarters, throwing bricks and molotov cocktails towards police.

The force responded with even more tear gas, backed up by their water-cannon-equipped anti-riot vehicle, which sprayed protesters near government headquarters at Tamar.

Elite officers from the so-called ‘raptor squad’ also launched quick strikes against protesters. RTHK reporters at the scene reported seeing around two dozen people subdued and arrested in Admiralty. Many of the detainees were forced to the ground with baton strikes by officers. Some were seen to be bleeding heavily.

As in past demonstrations, protesters pulled back towards Wan Chai once police moved in on their positions in Admiralty. Even as they retreated, they set up makeshift barricades on the road and set them on fire.

There were also reports from the scene that a group of demonstrators had clashed with undercover officers wearing the black garb typical of protesters on Johnston Road by Southorn Playground in Wan Chai.

Protesters had been attacking the officers with rods, while the police fought back with their batons, with one officer using a long stick. But the officers were vastly outnumbered, and tried to retreat.

The protesters surged forward, and a single gunshot was heard. No one is believed to have been hit.

The undercover officers then met up with a group of uniformed officers, who eventually led them into the safety of the Wan Chai MTR station.

However, some protesters had smashed the windows of the station, and hurled petrol bombs down at the officers below.

One officer's foot caught on fire after he tried unsuccessfully to stamp out a burning molotov cocktail. A colleague finished the job using a fire extinguisher.

Protesters also hurled bricks at an exit below a footbridge, breaking glass panels.

Even as firefighters and police put out the fires, new ones were set – and the water cannon vehicle was deployed once again – this time to help douse the blazes.

Last updated: 2019-09-29 HKT 23:55