Police fired tear gas and protesters threw bottles and rocks during clashes at a banned rally in Hong Kong.

Several thousand pro-democracy demonstrators marched to protest against suspected gang attacks that left 45 people injured last weekend.

Many in the pro-democracy movement accuse the police of reacting slowly to Sunday’s violence, while others blame local villagers they suspect of having close links to triad groups.

Protesters marching in defiance of a police ban
Protesters marching in defiance of a police ban

Many carried umbrellas and chanted anti-police slogans, as they rallied, despite police having banned the march on public safety grounds.

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After a tense stand-off in Yuen Long district on Saturday afternoon, riot police resorted to tear gas after crowds ignored calls to leave.

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There are unconfirmed reports of injuries.

As it grew dark, police eventually pushed activists into retreat.

Sky’s Asia correspondent, Tom Cheshire, said the situation was “utter chaos.”

Police, he said, “pushed protesters back and the protesters in turn pushed them back”.

Riot police watch as protesters gather in Yuen Long
Stand-offs between police and protesters were reported at several locations

Police fired tear gas at demonstrators as they refused to leave the outlawed rally
Police fired tear gas at demonstrators as they refused to leave the outlawed rally

There was “a lot of anger on the streets here today”, he added, noting that protesters were “a lot more organised, wearing protective hats and masks”.

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Triads are organised criminal networks known as the Chinese mafia. They usually run protection rackets, prostitution and low-level drug supply.

Footage has emerged of masked men in white t-shirts launching a series of violent attacks on activists who attended the pro-democracy demonstrators in Hong Kong.

Violent attacks on Hong Kong protesters

Last Sunday, 100 white shirted men stormed the Yuen Long station hours after protesters marched through central Hong Kong and defaced China’s Liaison Office – the leading symbol of Beijing’s authority over the former British colony.

They attacked black-clad protesters returning from Hong Kong island, passers-by, journalists and lawmakers with pipes and clubs, leaving 45 people injured.

Protesters gathered to march against gangs who beat up pro-democracy demonstrators last weekend
Protesters gathered to march against gangs who beat up pro-democracy activists last weekend

Cico Lau, 25, whose brother was among those beaten last Sunday, said: “I come out as I want to express my dissatisfaction with police. What had happened last week was totally unacceptable.”

The demonstrations were initially triggered by a bill, since abandoned, that would allow extraditions to mainland China.

But they have become a referendum on the Hong Kong government and the eroding of the city’s freedoms under Beijing’s control.

Protesters are also demanding independent inquiries into police use of force, the resignation of Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam and full democratic reform.

Protesters massed in Hong Kong Airport on Friday
Protesters massed in Hong Kong Airport on Friday

On Friday thousands of activists gathered in the arrivals halls of Hong Kong international airport.

In a sign of the growing tension in government, police are furious Hong Kong’s chief secretary apologised for last weekend’s attacks apparently without consulting them.

Matthew Cheung said the government would not shirk its responsibility “and the police’s handling fell short of residents’ expectations”.

Britain handed Hong Kong over to Chinese rule in 1997 amid guarantees that its core freedoms and autonomy, including the right to protest and an independent judiciary, would be protected under a “one country, two systems” formula.



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