Hong Kong police fired multiplies rounds of tear gas to try to disperse protesters in Kowloon’s Mong Kok on Sunday night, but some canisters hit shops and a bus and affected the general public.
Confrontations between police and protesters continued after clashes through the day in Tsim Sha Tsui. As the police deployed heavy numbers in the tourist spot, protesters spread to various districts to stage flash mob protests.
In Mong Kok, the protesters set up barricades, blocked the road at one spot, then left before police arrived. Then officers removed the barricades, fired rounds of tear gas and pepper balls, threw tear gas grenades at the crowd, chased and arrested people in the streets. Meanwhile, some protesters repeated the scene in another spot with more barricades.
At about 9pm, tear gas was shot right into a pharmacy, the only business still open in the area.
According to a witness, someone threw a brick at a police vehicle that was leaving. The police vehicle stopped, its back door opened and a few tear gas canisters were fired, one of which landed in the pharmacy.
The shop quickly filled with white gas. A staff member surnamed Wu said he had already half lowered the gate at the front of the shop, but the police still fired tear gas into the store. He and a friend were inside the shop at the time. They ran into the washroom and felt unwell until a volunteer first-aider helped them out, the Ming Pao Daily reported.
A tear gas canister was left on the shelves, next to boxes of vitamins and drugs. Wu criticized the police, saying they did not issue any warnings about firing tear gas. He informed his employer and is yet to know whether to write off the products or to ask the police to take accountability for the loss.
Meanwhile, another tear gas canister was fired and hit the outside of a noodle shop as the customers inside were eating. A fire was seen as the cannister hit a fusebox. Passers-by and staff helped put out the fire.
Meanwhile, a KMB bus, which was going past Argyle Street and heading to Lai Chi Kok, had to stop in the middle of the road as riot police fired multiple rounds of tear gas and a cloud of smoke enveloped the bus. There were a lot of cars using the road when police fired the tear gas.
The driver was left stricken and unable to drive as the gas entered the bus. Passengers ran off the bus. Most did not have facemasks on and covered their noses and mouths with their hands. The driver was unable to get out. He buried his head in his hands.
Volunteer first-aid workers boarded the bus and helped wash the gas from his eyes. They gave him a facemask and put it on him in an attempt to relieve his discomfort. The driver looked distressed and put his head down on the dash to rest.
The bus was driven away later by another KMB staff member.
The bus company issued a statement on Monday, expressing their gratitude to the voluntary first-aid personnel who helped the driver. They said the bus had been thoroughly cleaned.
At about midnight, when there were only about 100 people left on the streets, most not wearing protective gear, the police suddenly fired multiples rounds of tear gas on Soy Street. Many onlookers suffered from the gas and did not feel well.
Some protesters went to other districts including Whampoa and To Kwa Wan. They set a fire outside the MTR station, prised open the gates of some shops and threw petrol bombs.
In Whampoa Garden, riot police fired at least two tear gas canisters at the podium of a private residential building and conducted stop and searches on two young people. Their actions led to more than 100 people gathering and shouting at them, asking them to leave the premises. There were some confrontations between police and residents before the police left.
In Sham Shui Po, there were reports of petrol bombs being thrown at the entrance of the police station there. Officers used their non-lethal weapons at close range to disperse the crowd.
Meanwhile, a video surfaced on social media on Monday showing riot police refusing to let voluntary first-aiders assist an arrested man who appeared to be semi-conscious.
According to video footage from the City Broadcasting Channel, a number of first aiders and bystanders pleaded with police to let them examine the injured man. They said they were willing to show their ID cards and registered nurse identification and let the officers mark down their personal information.
But the officers turned down their requests, saying there might be a chance the arrested man would try to flee.
Half an hour later, the arrested man was taken away by officers and boarded a private vehicle.
The Hospital Authority said on Monday morning that 35 people, including 30 males and five females aged between 13 and 63, were injured in clashes in Kowloon on Sunday and sent to hospitals. One was in a serious condition, 16 were stable and 18 were made.