See More on Facebook

Current affairs, Politics

Hong Kong protests turn violent

At least 72 people taken to hospital during clashes with police.


Written by

Updated: June 13, 2019

At least 72 people were injured and taken to hospital during clashes between police and protesters on Wednesday (June 12) over a contentious extradition Bill, said Hong Kong authorities.

By night time, police officers were still in a stand-off with protesters on Queensway, not far from Admiralty Station, even though most of the protestors had dispersed following the use of tear gas and rubber bullets.

Earlier, police fired rubber bullets at protesters after they declared a “riot” as – for the second time in days – clashes broke out between police and protesters demonstrating against the controversial extradition Bill.

Rioting is punishable with a 10-year jail term.

Hours after lawmakers delayed a planned debate on the Bill, police fired pepper spray and tear gas at protesters who have parked themselves outside the government headquarters in Admiralty and blocked key downtown routes to show their opposition to the Bill.

They threw water bottles, traffic cones and other items at riot police and chanted slogans, vowing to stay put until the government withdraws the legislation that would allow extraditions to China.

“We had no choice but to use weapons to stop these protesters from barging at our defence lines,” Police Commissioner Stephen Lo Wai-chung said, speaking in Cantonese.

The top police official, however, brushed aside suggestions that a curfew would be imposed, local radio station RTHK reported.

Still, opposition leaders celebrated the postponement of the meeting during which the Bill was scheduled to be read, a Bloomberg report said. Details of another meeting will be made once it is decided.

“You guys made a miracle today,” Labour Party politician Fernando Cheung shouted to the crowd. “The meeting is delayed because you stood out today. But we still need more people coming out today.”

Pro-democracy lawmaker Claudia Mo similarly said: “Didn’t we say at the end of the Umbrella movement we would be back?” referring to the name often used for the “Occupy” demonstrations in 2014, whose trademark was the yellow umbrella. “Now we are back!” she said as supporters echoed her words.

In Beijing, Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told reporters that China “will continue to support” Hong Kong’s government. China has repeatedly said it backs the Hong Kong government amid the standoff.

“Any actions that harm Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability are opposed by mainstream public opinion in Hong Kong,” Mr Geng said at a regular briefing.

Asked about rumours that more Chinese security forces were going to be sent to Hong Kong, Mr Geng dismissed it as “fake news”.

The rally on Wednesday was within sight of the Hong Kong garrison of China’s People’s Liberation Army, whose presence in the city has been one of the most sensitive elements of the 1997 handover.

The protesters ignored a call from Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung to leave as soon as possible so traffic could resume. In a one-and-a-half minute long video clip, Mr Cheung urged people to stay calm and restrained, disperse as quickly as possible and not do anything illegal.

The appeal from the second-most senior government official was the first response from the administration after the protesters gathered outside the Legislative Council on Tuesday night.

He said the government had on three occasions added extra human rights safeguards to the extradition Bill after listening to the public’s views.

Earlier, in an advisory, the Hong Kong authorities asked civil servants not to head for the government headquarters, as its entrances were blocked.

In scenes resembling the 2014 pro-democracy “umbrella” protests, young protesters, many dressed in black, wearing masks and carrying umbrellas, dragged metal barricades to the roads leading to the government complex, with the aim of cutting off access to the building. Others spilled onto Harcourt Road and Lung Wo Road, disrupting traffic.

Shortly after 9am, protesters started clapping and chanting “go Hong Kong, go”, “cancel the meeting” and “(we) oppose the Bill”.

Local reports said police in riot gear used pepper spray on the crowds. By about 9.45am, the police started dispersing the crowd. Police issued a red notice to warn protesters not to misbehave or they will use force.

A government notice issued at 11am said the meeting to debate the Bill has been rescheduled “to a later time”. But the protest organisers said there could still be a meeting, and asked protesters to protect themselves.

The authorities also asked the train operator to skip Admiralty station on the Island (blue) and Tsuen Wan (red) lines due to the massive crowd.

The government had in February proposed changes to the extradition law that will allow Hong Kong to extradite people to the mainland to stand trial.

Critics in various sectors, including legal, politics and business communities, argued that the law might be used for political persecution and that fugitives might not receive a fair trial in the mainland.

While the government has explained that there are safeguards to prevent this, those who oppose the Bill say it threatens Hong Kong’s rule of law and undermines the “one country, two systems” principle.

Under the principle, Hong Kong is guaranteed a high degree of autonomy and freedoms for 50 years from 1997, the year when the British handed the former colony back to China.

Observers have noted growing concerns that Beijing is tightening its grip on Hong Kong, and the extradition Bill is seen by some as the last straw.

Wednesday morning’s rally came after there were fresh calls for protests from opposition lawmakers who urged the public to join their cause and camp outside the Legislative Council complex in a peaceful demonstration until next Thursday, when the Bill is expected to come to a vote.

On Tuesday, death threats were made against the family of Mrs Lam after she refused to back down.

The developments followed Sunday’s protest – the biggest in the territory since the handover in 1997.

Police estimated a 240,000-strong crowd at its peak, far below the more than one million figure put forward by organisers.

The largely peaceful protest turned violent on Sunday night when about 350 protesters stormed the LegCo and clashed with police. Eight police officers and some protesters were injured. At least 19 people were arrested.



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


About the Author: The Straits Times is Singapore's top-selling newspaper.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Current affairs, Politics

Chinese aircraft carrier passes through Taiwan Strait

Taiwan says it closely monitored the situation. Taiwan’s military said June 25 it closely monitored the Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning, as it passed through the Taiwan Strait earlier in the day. Having completed its mission in the South China Sea, the aircraft carrier, accompanied by a number of other combat ships, sailed north through the Taiwan Strait before returning to its home port of Qingdao in Shandong province, according to the defense ministry. The Liaoning is China’s first aircraft carrier and is named after one of its northeastern provinces. The 300-meter-long vessel was refurbished and upgraded from an unfinished Soviet carrier and commissioned in 2012. The Liaoning was observed passing through the Miyako Strait in the East China Sea earlier this month on its way to the Pacific Ocean, where the People’s Liberation Army Navy conducted training operations, according to Japan


By Cod Satrusayang
June 27, 2019

Current affairs, Politics

US, China must compromise to reach deal: Chinese official

Both sides must come together in good faith for any progress to be made. Both China and the United States must be willing to compromise if they are to reach a deal when presidents Xi Jinping and Donald Trump meet at the G-20 Summit this week, a Chinese trade official has said. Vice-Minister for Commerce Wang Shouwen said at a news briefing yesterday that trade teams from both sides are in talks. He did not elaborate, but stressed that China negotiates on the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit. “An agreement reached has to be beneficial for both sides, and meeting each other halfway means both sides must be willing to compromise – not just one side giving way,” said Mr Wang, who is part of China’s negotiating team.


By The Straits Times
June 26, 2019

Current affairs, Politics

The transformation of Gokul Baskota

How Nepal’s communications minister went from being a fierce reporter to a hardline politician against free press. For Gokul Baskota, the last twelve months have been particularly busy. Since taking the helm of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, which had been without a leader for several months before his appointment last June, Baskota has eagerly placed himself at the centre of a nonstop media storm, defending every controversial bill the government has tabled or passed—from the Medical Education Bill to the 


By The Kathmandu Post
June 25, 2019

Current affairs, Politics

Battle of Okinawa memorial ceremony attended by 5,100

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe offers a flower during a memorial ceremony to commemorate those who died in the Battle of Okinawa. The Okinawa prefectural government held on Sunday a memorial ceremony to commemorate those who died in the Battle of Okinawa, in the Peace Memorial Park in the Mabuni area of Itoman, Okinawa Prefecture. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Okinawa Gov. Denny Tamaki participated in the event marking the 74th anniversary of the end of the Battle of Okinawa during the final stage of World War II. Abe and Tamaki each delivered an address to mourn the victims. About 5,100 people, including bereaved family members of the war dead, attended the ceremony, the first of the Reiwa era. In front of the park’s Cornerstone of Peace stone monuments on which the names of the war dead are inscribed, many people joined their hands in prayer. This yea


By The Japan News
June 24, 2019

Current affairs, Politics

Seventeen dead in Sihanoukville building collapse

The accident happened over the weekend. Rescue team recovered 17 corpses and at least 24 injured who were buried underneath the rubble of a building under construction which collapsed in Preah Sihanouk province. In an immediate response to the tragedy, Prime Minister Hun Sen announced a donation of 40 million riel to each of the dead victims’ families. Speaking to The Post early on Sunday, Preah Sihanoukville provincial governor Yun Min said: “Up to 8:30am, we have recorded a death toll of 17 persons. “Another 24 have suffered light to serious injuries and are receiving treatment.” The seven-storey building which is under construction collapsed at about 4 am on June 22. Since then, rescue teams have been working round-the-clock in search and recovery operations as they worked against time to save as many of the victim as possible. Families of the victims were


By Phnom Phen Post
June 24, 2019

Current affairs, Politics

Hong Kong set for more protest

Hong Kong gears up for more protests over extradition Bill as hundreds gather. Protesters began streaming in towards the Hong Kong government headquarters early Friday (June 21) morning, joining others who had camped there overnight after the administration ignored a deadline the previous day to withdraw a controversial extradition Bill. They have vowed to escalate matters on Friday and cut off access to the roads surrounding the government central offices in Tamar, Admiralty until their list of demands are met. These include a complete withdrawal of the proposed law – plans for which have been indefinitely suspended – for the June 12 protests not to be categorised as a riot, for everyone arrested


By The Straits Times
June 21, 2019