HONG KONG, Aug. 26 (Xinhua) -- Fifteen police officers were injured after they were attacked on Sunday by violent protesters in Tsuen Wan, in the western New Territories of Hong Kong. Radical protesters hurled petrol bombs at the officers and brutally assaulted them.
The police officers were sent to the hospital for treatment. Police severely condemn the protesters who purposefully harmed police officers, the government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) said in a statement on Monday.
"The protesters' violence disregarded the law and order. Police severely condemn such violence which was outrageous and have overstepped the bottom line of a civilized society," the statement said.
Some demonstrators removed a national flag at the Kwai Chung Sports Ground, the assembly venue, and trampled on it, challenging the authority and allegedly breaching the National Flag and National Emblem Ordinance, the HKSAR government said.
The escalating illegal and violent acts of radical protesters are not only outrageous, and they also push Hong Kong to the verge of a very dangerous situation, it said.
Sunday's marches took place in Tsuen Wan and neighboring areas. However, some extremely violent protesters deviated from their original routes, obstructing roads, vandalizing shops and facilities, and attacking officers. The violent protesters, armed with poles, hats and protective gear, escalated their violence in the afternoon and evening.
Some radical protesters hurled bricks and petrol bombs at police officers outside Yeung Uk Road Market in Tsuen Wan. They also aimed strong light beams at the officers and setting up barricades to confront the police. They blocked various roads in Tsuen Wan, paralyzing traffic in the vicinity.
Having given repeated warnings to the protesters in vain, anti-riot officers fired tear gas and used minimum force to disperse them.
At the site, the police repeatedly unfurled signs for the demonstrators to leave, but radical protesters ignored the warning of the police. A police commander at the scene ordered to deploy two specialized crowd management vehicles, commonly known as the "water cannon vehicles", to stop the violent acts of the protesters.
Around 7:40 p.m. local time, a large group of extremely violent demonstrators who had been dispersed gathered again in Yi Pei Square of Tsuen Wan. Holding iron bars, wooden sticks and bricks, they smashed doors and windows of several shops and broke some closed-circuit televisions.
Anti-riot police officers arrived at the scene where shops were vandalized, but they were immediately surrounded and brutally assaulted by a large group of radical people holding long metal rods.
With only small shields for defense, the police officers retreated, but the violent protesters continued to attack them. One of the police officers under attack fell on the ground. In face of the extremely dangerous situation, a police officer fired a warning shot into the sky.
Superintendent Leung Kwok-wing of the New Territories South Regional Crime Headquarters said the police fired the shot as his life was in danger.
The protesters later went to various locations, including Sham Shui Po, Tsim Sha Tsui, Sha Tin and the Cross-Harbour Tunnel, and aimed laser beams and hurled objects at police officers. They also smashed facilities and set up barricades at the tunnel to paralyze traffic.
Police arrested 29 people for offences including unlawful assembly, possession of offensive weapon and assaulting police officers.
Hong Kong's Commissioner of Police Lo Wai-chung visited the injured officers in Princess Margaret Hospital on Sunday night.
Lo expressed strong anger and condemnation against the reckless, violent and unlawful acts and said the police force will strive to investigate all violent acts that have caused serious, even life-threatening injuries to the police officers.