HK police: Violence against us is life-threatening, Latest World News - The New Paper

HK police: Violence against us is life-threatening

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HONG KONG: Police said yesterday that violence in Hong Kong had escalated to a "life-threatening level".

They cited the explosion of a small bomb and the stabbing of a police officer in clashes with protesters overnight.

Peaceful rallies descended into chaos on Sunday with running skirmishes between protesters and police in shopping malls and on the streets.

Black-clad activists threw 20 petrol bombs at one police station, while others trashed shops and metro stations.

A crude explosive device, which police said was similar to those used in "terrorist attacks", was remotely detonated as a police car drove past and officers were clearing roadblocks in Kowloon district on Sunday night.

A police officer also had his neck slashed by a protester.

"Violence against police has reached a life-threatening level," said Deputy Commissioner of Police Tang Ping Keung.

"They are not protesters, they are rioters and criminals. Whatever cause they are fighting for, it never justifies such violence."

Protests have attracted millions of people but have gradually become smaller in recent weeks. Yet violence by hardcore activists has risen, prompting debate among protesters over tactics. But they say they remained united.

"Violence is always undesirable, but in the case of Hong Kong, we have no other option," said regular protester Jackson Chan, 21.

"In June, two million took to the streets and demonstrated peacefully, yet the government showed a complete disregard for public opinion. Resultantly, escalation of violence is inevitable," Mr Chan said.

Police have fired thousands of rounds of tear gas and rubber bullets at brick and petrol bomb-throwing protesters and arrested more than 2,300 people since June, many young teenagers. - REUTERS