HONG KONG, Sept. 15 (Xinhua) - At least eight people were injured on Sunday as rioters escalated violence by setting fires, throwing petrol bombs, beating innocent residents and blocking roads on the Hong Kong Island.
A group of black-clad protestors tore down and burned a banner reading "to celebrate the founding of the People's Republic of China". They were among the hundreds of masked protesters who defied a police ban to march from Causeway Bay to Central on Sunday. (Photo: chinadaily.com.cn)
A video clip on social media showed that a man in blue shirt fainted after being surrounded and beaten by a group of black-clad rioters on a road on the Hong Kong Island.
TV footage showed that the man's face and back were in heavy bruises. Paramedics arrived later and stretchered him onto an ambulance.
The Hong Kong Hospital Authority said at around 6:00 p.m., a 49-year-old man was injured in Sunday's public event on the Hong Kong Island and was admitted to Ruttonjee Hospital in critical condition.
It updated at around 9 p.m. local time that the man's condition turned from critical to serious and was transferred to Queen Mary Hospital for further treatment.
Xinhua reporters witnessed a man being beaten and kicked by a group of rioters dressed in black at a crossing in Wan Chai. TV footage showed another white-clad man lying on the ground with blood on his face and arms after being attacked by rioters in North Point.
As of 9 p.m., eight people were injured in the public events on the Hong Kong Island, according to the hospital authority.
An illegal rally on the Hong Kong Island turned violent again on Sunday afternoon, as rioters began throwing petrol bombs in the areas around the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government offices and the Legislative Council (LegCo) building at about 4:30 p.m. local time and vandalized mass transit railway (MTR) stations.
Earlier TV footage showed that some radical protesters set fires to the Chinese national flag and a banner marking the founding of the 70th anniversary of the People's Republic of China.
Before the violence erupted, radical protesters blocked several main roads in Central, Admiralty and Wan Chai areas, seriously obstructing road traffic on the Hong Kong Island.
Admiralty, Wan Chai and Causeway Bay MTR stations were forced to close after rioters smashed the glass inside, damaged and obstructed MTR exits in escalating violence. Some exits at several other stations were also closed.
As repeated warnings to protesters who posed a serious threat to police officers and the public turned futile, the Hong Kong police deployed tear gas and specialized crowd management vehicles in dispersal operations in the Central and Admiralty areas.
The protesters then moved eastward and gathered at multiple locations in Wan Chai, Causeway Bay and North Point areas, causing a number of violent clashes.
The police warned the protesters to leave immediately and reminded the public to avoid travelling to these areas.
The LegCo Secretariat issued a red alert Sunday afternoon and required all people to evacuate the LegCo Complex immediately.
A number of stores in the once busy shopping areas in Causeway Bay, Wan Chai and Admiralty were forced to shut down Sunday afternoon.
The police said the radical protesters were participating in an unauthorized assembly and their acts have seriously threatened the safety of the people at the scenes, warning them to stop their illegal acts immediately.
Since June, Hong Kong has suffered from escalating violence that originated from protests over proposed ordinance amendments concerning fugitive offenders. Prolonged unrest has hit the city's economy, and divided friends, colleagues and even families.
Unprecedented scenes of violence have been playing out in Hong Kong over the past months. Black-clad protesters vandalizing metro stations, setting fires on streets, and attacking police with petrol bombs and bricks have become common occurrences.