Hong Kong protests: Police fire tear gas at demonstrators as embattled leader refuses to resign

Chief executive Carrie Lam maintains she has no plans to step down over protests

Conrad Duncan
Monday 05 August 2019 08:01 BST
Chaos in Hong Kong's Yuen Long as van almost crashes into protesters building barricades in road

Police have fired tear gas at multiple locations in Hong Kong to disperse demonstrators as pro-democracy protesters held a general strike on Monday.

Tear gas was reported in the areas of Tin Shui Wai, Wong Tai Sin and Tai Po, while two cars were filmed ramming into separate crowds of protesters.

In the town of Yuen Long, one person was reportedly injured after a car rammed through barricades set up by protesters in the semi-autonomous Chinese region.

Demonstrators had been attempting to block a road in Yuen Long on Monday morning as part of a general strike which has led to major traffic disruption and more than 100 flights being cancelled.

Footage later shared on social media showed protesters surrounding the car, some hitting it with objects, before the vehicle reserved and drove at speed towards the crowd, throwing one protester to the floor.

Later in the day, a taxi broke through a barricade and drove at protesters in the street, in what appeared to be an attempt to run them over.

At least one person is thought to have been injured in the first incident, according to the South China Morning Post.

Hong Kong’s embattled leader Carrie Lam maintained she has no plans to resign on Monday in response to the pro-democracy movement and warned the city was on “the verge of a very dangerous situation”.

"I don't think at this point in time, resignation of myself or some of my colleagues would provide a better solution," the chief executive said at a news conference.

Hong Kong has seen two months of fiery demonstrations this summer that began in June in opposition to a proposed extradition bill that would have allowed residents to be sent to mainland China to stand trial.

The bill has been suspended in response to the protests but activists have since turned their attention towards broader calls for democratic reforms and an investigation into alleged police brutality.

On Monday, Ms Lam accused protesters of operating with “ulterior motives” that threaten the region's prosperity and security.

As part of the general strike, protesters blocked train and platform doors during the morning rush hour, preventing trains from leaving their stations and forcing commuters to wait on crowded platforms.

Meanwhile, more than 100 flights have been cancelled out of Hong Kong after a large number of airport employees called in sick, in what appeared to be participation in the strike.

A demonstration outside Tin Shui Wai police station also descended into chaos on Monday as police fired tear gas to disperse protesters after eggs were reportedly thrown at officers.

The demonstration was called in response to reports that a female protester allegedly had her pants ripped during an arrest last night and was handled roughly by officers.

Hong Kong was once a British colony but was returned to China in 1997 under the framework of "one country, two systems," which promised certain democratic freedoms to the region that are not seen on the mainland.

However, Hong Kong residents have become concerned that Beijing has been increasingly encroaching on those freedoms in recent years.

On Saturday, a reward of one million Hong Kong dollars (£105,000) was offered to anyone who could identify a protester who removed a Chinese flag and threw it into the sea during a recent demonstration.

Agencies contributed to this report

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