Hong Kong police deployed a bomb disposal robot in Tai Kok Tsui after a suspicious object was found during Sunday’s protests.

bomb disposal robot october 20

At around 6.20pm, the remote-controlled robot navigated towards what appeared to be a cardboard box with wires sticking out of it. A loud bang was heard as the robot detonated it on the junction of Tong Mi Road and Lai Chi Kok Road. It is unclear whether the box was an improvised explosive device.

police gas mask october 20 kowloon

In a press release just before midnight, the government condemned protesters and said suspected explosive items were found in several areas.

mask october 20 kowloon

“The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government strongly condemns the acts of the rioters which completely disregard law and order, severely undermining social order. Without regard to people’s safety, rights and needs, those acts are extremely irresponsible,” it added.

october 20 kowloon
Photo: May James/HKFP.

A seven-seater van and a taxi were stopped by police in Tai Po, according to RTHK. Over 40 petrol bombs were seized and the two drivers – both in their 30s – were arrested.

molotov fire october 20 kowloon
Photo: May James/HKFP.

Earlier, hundreds of thousands marched in Kowloon in opposition to an anti-mask law imposed by the government.

Familiar scenes of unrest broke out within hours as water cannon, projectiles and tear gas were deployed by riot police.

October 20 anti-mask protest Tsim Sha Tsui
Photo: May James/HKFP.

At one point, police fired blue water cannon dye at the steps of Kowloon Mosque, prompting anger from the Muslim community. The force later apologised for what it described as an “accident.”

Kowloon Mosque october 20
Kowloon Mosque. Photo: Telegram.

Meanwhile, protesters threw Molotov cocktails, set fires, vandalised stores, MTR exits and Chinese banks, as they blocked roads and built makeshift barricades.

october 20 kowloon mtr

The anti-mask legislation was implemented two weeks ago using the 1922 Emergency Regulations Ordinance in response to large-scale protests, sparked by an ill-fated bill which would have enabled extraditions to China.

graffiti october 20 kowloon

The city-wide unrest, now entering its 20th week, has evolved into sometimes violent displays of dissent over Beijing’s encroachmentdemocracy and the police’s handling of the crisis.

mask blue dye water cannon october 20 kowloon

Sunday’s march was originally organised by the Civil Human Rights Front, but the pro-democracy coalition abandoned the plan after they failed to appeal a police ban. Its vice-convenor Figo Chan estimated that around 350,000 people nevertheless took to the streets.

october 20 kowloon

Cat and mouse chases continued into the night as police pursued protesters northwards on Nathan Road.

october 20 kowloon

MTR closures

The MTR closed multiple stations during Sunday’s protest, as it condemned the “the unlawful acts of the rioters” for vandalising stations.

mtr tsim sha tsui october 20 kowloon
Photo: May James/HKFP.

The MTR Corporation has been under fire after the largely government-owned transit firm declared it would close stations in the area of protests.

october 20 kowloon mtr

A sit-in protest is planned at Yuen Long station on Monday to mark three months since a mob attacked commuters and protesters at the station. The company said the station would close at 2pm and the rest of the network would close at 10pm for repairs.

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Tom founded Hong Kong Free Press in 2015 and is the editor-in-chief. In addition to editing, he is responsible for managing the newsroom and company - including fundraising, recruitment and overseeing HKFP's web presence and ethical guidelines.

He has a BA in Communications and New Media from Leeds University and an MA in Journalism from the University of Hong Kong. He previously led an NGO advocating for domestic worker rights, and has contributed to the BBC, Deutsche Welle, Al-Jazeera and others.