Hong Kong riot police have arrested more than 50 people near the Science Museum in Tsim Sha Tsui, as protesters remain encircled in the nearby Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU).
The group were seen with their hands tied behind their backs and their bags in front of them on the pavement outside the New Mandarin Plaza at around 10am on Monday. Some of them appeared to be middle-aged and not dressed in black – a colour usually worn by protesters.
They were arrested for unlawful assembly and were transported onto a tour bus, local media reported.
The area has been under siege since Sunday as police surrounded PolyU’s Hung Hom campus where protesters had been for nearly a week. Clashes have broken out as volleys of tear gas were fired by police and demonstrators threw Molotov cocktails.
Democratic Party district councillor Lo Kin-hei was arrested on Monday morning near the university campus.
A post on Lo’s Facebook page said he was helping residents at Energy Plaza near the university when riot police charged in and arrested people en masse, including himself. His case is being followed up by a lawyer, the post read.
“We are deeply angered by the police’s abuse of power,” Lo’s assistant said in the post.
Ken Woo, vice-president of the university’s student union, told RTHK on Monday morning that at least 500 people were still inside the campus.
He said a group of 70 to 100 people had unsuccessfully tried to leave the campus but were pushed back after police fired tear gas at them.
Woo said the outcome of the situation would depend on the police response. He added that protesters would be forced to stay inside the campus if officers planned to arrest them upon leaving.
An RTHK reporter and three other journalists went to PolyU at around 9am to swap shifts with their colleagues, which police said they would allow, according to RTHK.
But as the reporters got close to the site, officers pointed projectile launchers at them, demanded they raise their arms and allow for their identities to be checked.
The RTHK reporter tried to explain that he was there to take over from his colleague, but police refused to allow him through and told him to leave via another route.
Meanwhile, hundreds of protesters had attempted to surround the police outside PolyU from different angles including in Jordan.
At Gascoigne Road near the Diocesan Girls’ School, police fired tear gas and projectiles at crowds.
A protester was left bleeding after he was hit in the head with a projectile, local media reported.
At around 2pm, a group of protesters on Cheong Wan Road outside PolyU tried to escape from the campus but were met with tear gas and projectiles fired by the police. At least 10 arrests were made.
In a Facebook post, police urged people inside the campus to drop their weapons, dispose of any dangerous items, remove their gas masks and leave in an orderly manner via the top level of Cheong Wan Road South Bridge.
“They should follow instructions and must not charge at police cordons,” the force added.
PolyU’s top management said in a statement on Monday noon that they had requested a meeting with the police top brass to discuss ways to resolve the standoff peacefully. “We are waiting for the reply from the police,” it said.
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