Violence at Patten protest

HONG KONG (Reuter) - Hundreds of protesters demanding that their wives in China be allowed to join them in Hong Kong dispersed yesterday after Chris Patten, who arrived on Thursday to take up his post as Governor, accepted their petition.

Eighteen people, including 14 policemen, were injured during scuffles between police and demonstrators. The protesters had spent the past week waiting at the Immigration Department after rumours that Hong Kong's new governor would allow their wives into the British colony legally. Violence broke out when police put up barriers to stop the 400 demonstrators from reaching the governor's residence.

Under present rules, wives from China who try to join husbands in Hong Kong are treated as illegal immigrants and face expulsion. The Secretary for Security in the colony, Alistair Asprey, said last week that there would be no amnesty.