Hong Kong police urge students to surrender
HONG KONG — Hong Kong police are calling on protesters barricaded inside the city’s Polytechnic University to surrender and face justice, saying they have no other option given the level of violence in recent days.
The regional commander of Kowloon West district, Cheuk Hau-yip, told reporters at a daily briefing on Monday: “These rioters, they are also criminals. They have to face the consequences of their acts.”
Cheuk added: “Other than coming out to surrender, I don’t see, at the moment, there’s any viable option for them.”
He said police have the ability and resolve to end the standoff peacefully so protesters should not “try their luck.”
Police said they arrested 154 people aged 13 to 54 over the weekend on charges including burglary, rioting, and possessing offensive weapons. They said protesters used slingshots to fireball bearings, hurled bricks, and gasoline bombs, and fired arrows at police, seriously injuring a police media liaison officer.
China’s government, meanwhile, said it supports efforts by Hong Kong police to protect the livelihoods and safety of citizens after a weekend of clashes.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said Monday that the protests, now in their sixth month, “are no longer a simple, peaceful demonstration.”
“It is a handful of criminals exacting violence against regular civilians,” Geng said. “They have affected social order.”
Geng also criticized U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who commented on Hong Kong and the U.S.-China trade war during a visit to Houston last Friday. Pompeo said the U.S. and other countries hope China will honor its commitment concerning Hong Kong’s “one country, two systems” framework.
Geng said Pompeo has carried a “worn-out script” with him everywhere in a bid to smear China.
As this developed, the head editor of China’s nationalistic Global Times newspaper said Hong Kong police should use snipers to fire live ammunition at violent protesters.
Hu Xijin made the comments Sunday evening during a prolonged standoff between riot police and demonstrators occupying Hong Kong Polytechnic University.
Hu wrote on his Weibo social media account: “If the rioters are killed, the police should not have to bear legal responsibility.”
Hu is an outspoken commentator who leads the Global Times, a tabloid under the People’s Daily, the official paper of the ruling Communist Party. He made similar remarks on Twitter, which is banned in mainland China.
Edited by KGA
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