Police surrounded the main entrances to the Polytechnic University on Sunday night following a day of violent clashes with anti-government protesters holed up inside, putting the entire campus on lockdown and letting no one – not even journalists – out without a thorough search. Photos circulating online appear to show rows of what appear to be volunteer medics with their hands tied behind their backs after apparently getting arrested near the Hong Kong Coliseum.
The force has issued a statement warning that anyone still on campus may be taking part in a riot, and ordered everyone to leave via a single exit on the north side of the campus, by the Lee Shau Kee Building at the Core-Y area of the University.
At around 9.30pm, police asked all the reporters who had been working at the intersection of Chatham Road South and Austin Road to retreat into the campus, and allow police to confirm their identities.
Officers had said they may be searched, as they are in an area where ‘riots’ had broken out, and police cannot be sure that they are real journalists, or if they had taken part in any rioting activity.
Online news network Inmediahk.net reported that two of its reporters who left through the Core Y exit as demanded by police say both were ordered to walk towards Jordan Road with both their arms up. There, they were searched, and had their press IDs scrutinised as their live stream was cut off.
The reporters also said a volunteer first-aid worker was hogtied and detained when he emerged from the exit.
Protesters have made online appeals for people to take to the streets to try to ‘rescue’ those who they say are trapped at the Polytechnic University.
Meanwhile, an online petition urging the police to allow people on campus to leave, and to refrain from using violence in and around the campus, has attracted more than 15,000 signatories within hours of its launch on Sunday.
The petition was spearheaded by an assistant professor at the university’s Department of Applied Social Sciences, Chung Kim-wah, along with a group of alumni.
Chung told RTHK he plans to head to the university to try to negotiate with police to allow people to leave, and he will not be wearing any protective gear.
"If I get arrested, I think that's up to the public to judge, is it a fair treatment for me? I'm trying to do something to ease the tension and trying to do something for the welfare and benefit of my students", he said.
The academic says he believes as many as 20 students from his department are still on campus, but they are only there to help sort materials for the front line protesters.
Last updated: 2019-11-18 HKT 01:11