A protest over an irritating smell emanating from a police base in Tuen Mun descended into another confrontation with riot police on Monday night.
A crowd of several hundred spontaneously gathered at the Tai Hing operational base after local residents complained of feeling unwell during the afternoon.
Protesters were suspicious that police were testing tear gas at their base – a claim police deny.
Riot police gathered to confront heckling crowds outside the facility.
“If you constables cannot tell us what happened, tell your superiors to come out,” one resident shouted at the police.
Some chanted slogans and used laser pens to point at officers. Police also shone bright lights into the crowd.
At 9:20pm, riot police rushed forward towards the residents, and detained one male.
Riot police were pushed back owing to the size of the heckling crowd, while more police reinforcements arrived in Tuen Mun from different areas.
At around 10pm, protesters set up a makeshift roadblock on Leung Wan Street outside the police base, and threw bricks and a petrol bomb into a nearby Bank of China branch. They also damaged the glass door of a restaurant under Fulum group, which protesters suspect is sympathetic with gangs who have attacked them.
Police then fired tear gas canisters after giving a warning.
“Their behaviour seriously threatened the safety of everyone at [the] scene and the residents nearby,” a police statement said. “Police condemn all violent acts and warn the rioters to stop the illegal acts immediately.”
During the confrontation, tear gas was fired onto the podium of the nearby Blossom Garden residential building.
Residents also complained that tear gas was fired onto the seventh floor of Yat Sang House at Siu Hin Court estate, causing a pet dog to cough.
“How did they shoot here?” a resident is heard saying in a widely-shared video clip.
Riot police pointed tear gas rifles towards local residents as they marched through Tuen Mun, entering into the gardens of private residences. They subdued multiple residents, as the protests gradually died down after midnight.
Mass protests, initially against a now-withdrawn extradition bill, have entered their 21st week and evolved into a wider movement seeking democracy and accountability over alleged police brutality. On Tuesday, Chief Executive Carrie Lam again called for the violence to stop and thanked the police for their efforts.
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