Hong Kong leader calls on 100 protesters inside university to surrender
HONG KONG, Kyodo - About 100 protesters remain holed up inside a university under police siege on Tuesday, Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said, while calling on them to swiftly surrender in a bid to bring the days-long standoff with police to an end.
The territory's chief executive told a news conference that about 600 protesters have left the Hong Kong Polytechnic University campus in the Kowloon area, including about 200 who are under 18 years old.
Lam said the police arrested about 400 demonstrators who had occupied the university.
“We very much hope for a peaceful resolution,” Lam told reporters ahead of her weekly Executive Council meeting. “But it is not up to us. If the rioters launch lethal attack, a peaceful resolution is hard to achieve.”
“I cannot give an absolute guarantee because the situation is changing. If we were suddenly seeing some very major, life threatening incidents on the campus, then the police have to take the necessary action to prevent any tragedies from happening,” she said.
Lam said although police did not immediately arrest the underage protesters, investigations will continue and police may lay charges against some of them if there is sufficient evidence.
Including the 600 who surrendered themselves, police said about 1,100 people, most of whom are not university students, have been arrested or their identities recorded since Monday in the vicinity of the campus.
Police said they fired 1,458 tear gas canisters, 1,391 rubber bullets, 325 beanbag rounds and 265 sponge grenades against protesters on Monday alone.
About two dozen protesters who tried to escape late Monday in cars and motorcycles awaiting them on an elevated motorway adjacent to the campus were later captured by police. (Kyodo)