Hong Kong police fire tear gas in protest clashes

Riot policemen stand watch as protesters stage a rally in Hong Kong. (AP pic)

HONG KONG: Police fired tear gas and pepper spray during clashes with protesters in Hong Kong’s Yuen Long area on Saturday night, Radio Television Hong Kong reported.

Protesters blocked roads and set fires earlier in the evening, with clashes continuing until the early hours of Sunday morning.

Yuen Long District Council chairman Zachary Wong Wai-yin was briefly detained before being released, councillor Tommy Cheung Sau-yin wrote in a series of Facebook posts.

The protest at a subway station was held to mark an incident at the site eight months ago when a pro-democracy demonstration was targeted by gangs of men, who attacked activists, lawmakers and train passengers with clubs, leaving dozens injured.

Police have been criticised for responding slowly to emergency calls that night.

Saturday’s police action was the first time they have used tear gas to disperse protesters since a Feb 29 rally in Mong Kok.