The Wan Chai MTR station only provides limited services on Monday, due to serious damages to its facilities and acts of vandalism by rioting mobs. By noon on Monday, two entrances of the station remain closed. (PHOTO / CHINA DAILY)
Hardcore rioters’ acts are “one step closer to terrorism” as they show “apparent signs” ahead of National Day that they will further escalate violence, the Hong Kong Police Force said on Monday.
The city is on the verge of extreme danger, after clashes raged during the 17th weekend of the anti-extradition bill protests, said Tse Chun-chung, chief superintendent of the Police Public Relations Branch. Violent rallies plunged various districts into chaos as rioters charged police officers, hurling as many as 100 gasoline bombs and going on arson sprees on thoroughfares in the heart of the city.
Reckless and brazen acts would bring consequences that Hong Kong cannot bear if the situation continues to worsen
chief superintendent of the Police Public Relations Branch
According to intelligence that police have gathered, some “hardcore rioters” are planning to recruit volunteers with suicidal tendencies to commit extreme acts, including killing police officers, disguising as police officers to kill others, and blowing up gasoline stations in the city. “All acts are one step closer to terrorism,” Tse said.
The police are deeply concerned about public safety on Tuesday and condemn in the strongest terms all criminal and violent acts, Tse said.
Despite these concerns, the city’s terrorism threat level remains at moderate, Tse said. The police remain confident they can safeguard public safety, he added.
Over the weekend, police arrested 157 people, 67 of whom were students.
“Among them, eight were only 12 to 15 years old,” Tse said. “We are very worried about the trend that more youngsters are committing crimes, which will have a detrimental effect on their futures.”
By taking justice in their own hands, rioters could cripple Hong Kong, as the prolonged social unrest and widespread violence gripping the city show no signs of stopping, Tse warned.
The so-called “demands” from the mouth of riotous mobs are just excuses to legitimize their violence and lawbreaking acts, Tse said. Reckless and brazen acts would bring consequences that Hong Kong cannot bear if the situation continues to worsen, he added.
Meanwhile, police have objected to a public event proposed for Hong Kong Island on Tuesday out of concerns over public safety, public order, and protection of rights and freedom of others.
The police decision was later backed by the Appeal Board on Public Meetings and Processions, which later also turned down requests for demonstrations.
After the police briefing, the SAR government issued a statement that called on the public to be mindful of the legal consequences of joining illegal activities.
Noting that unauthorized public events are very likely to take place in various districts in Hong Kong on Tuesday and may cause severe disruption, a spokesman reminded the public to pay attention to government announcements and mind their safety.
“Anyone taking part in such public meetings and processions in spite of the police’s objection may violate the law,” the spokesman said.
Parents and teachers should also advise young children and students to remain in safe places and not participate in unauthorized public processions, the spokesman added.
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