05:49 GMT +314 December 2019
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    Hong Kong Riot Police Officers

    Hong Kong Police Threaten Arrests as Protests Descend Into Chaos

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    BEIJING (Sputnik) - Hong Kong police have warned it would begin dispersing and arresting protesters after rioters vandalised stores and erected barricades on the harbour front.

    "In the face of the situation, Police officers had no other alternatives but deployed the minimum necessary force, including tear gas, to stop illegal acts", the press release read.

    More violence erupted in the mainly residential Whampoa area as darkness fell, with masked protesters blocking nearby Hung Hom Road and Tak Man Street and breaking into stores.

    "Police warn all rioters to stop illegal acts. Police will conduct dispersal and arrest action", the latest press release read.

    Tens of thousands marched through Hung Hom area earlier in the day to keep the pressure up on the Chinese autonomous city’s government after it repealed an extradition bill to appease the crowds.

    Police defended the use of tear gas and pepper spray in Tsim Sha Tsui tourist district against hardline protesters who, they said, "hurled smoke bombs, stirring up public fear and causing chaos".

    Around a hundred protesters sparked off clashes with riot police in the residential and shopping district of Whampoa, the South China Morning Post said. It said radicals trashed pro-Chinese stores and restaurants and damaged traffic lights.

    Hong Kong has been gripped by violent protests since June. The demonstrations, initially a response to an extradition bill, continued even after the highly unpopular measure was withdrawn in October. The protesters now claim that the authorities are abusing their power to suppress them, a claim that the government has denied. So far, nearly 4,500 people have been detained, over 1,500 people have been hospitalized and more than 400 security personnel have been injured during the unrest.

    Beijing has repeatedly insisted that the situation in Hong Kong is a result of foreign interference in China's domestic affairs and expressed full support for the local authorities.

    Tags:
    police, Arrests, protests, Hong Kong, China
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