Source:Global Times Published: 2016-2-17 1:08:01
More than 700 people joined a riot in Hong Kong last week, injuring over 90 police officers, a top Hong Kong official said.
Secretary for Security Lai Tung-kwok told media on Tuesday that the rioters scattered across 14 streets in Mong Kok district and fires were set in 22 different locations, with 2,000 bricks dug out from the pavement. He said the rioters used the bricks as weapons in the clash.
The riot erupted on February 8, the first night of the lunar new year, after a handful of illegal street vendors refused to halt their business and clashed with law enforcement officials. The confrontation lasted over 10 hours.
By Monday, 68 rioters had been arrested and 41 were charged, China Central Television (CCTV) reported on Tuesday.
Over 30 college professionals and scholars in Hong Kong on Sunday demanded an independent committee to investigate the riot. But Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying rejected it, the Xinhua News Agency report on Monday.
Lai accused the rioters of deliberately trying to avoid being charged. He said some organizations are blaming the clearance operation for the clash and such statements are aimed at diverting the government's attention.
Elizabeth Quat, a lawmaker from the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, urged the government on Monday at a special meeting of the Legislative Council's security panel to introduce a new law that bans masks in similar protests.
Qiu Shaoqi, Mong Kok Police Station chief, said they had used a minimum level of force to stop the riot. Only two warning shots were fired to rescue injured officers, CCTV reported.
Qiu added Mong Kok police were not ruling out the possibility that the riot was organized, since cars were seen providing supplies and weapons to the rioters.
Lai said this violent behavior cannot be tolerated, and an investigation will be conducted on whether it was premeditated.