On November 19th, Hong Kong police discovered 3,900 petrol bombs at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) and arrested upwards 1,100 people.
The protests weren’t taking place only around the two university campuses, as rioters in other parts of the cities set fires and destroyed business, in what has become the norm of “peaceful protests.”
Speaking to reporters on November 19th, a police spokesperson said staff from CUHK and the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) had reported theft of dangerous chemicals from their laboratories.
The stolen chemicals include “concentrated acid”, he said, adding that they were “ingredients for making petrol bombs.”
The police spokesperson also warned the chemicals were “highly corrosive and toxic” and close contact with them can lead to “long-lasting and even permanent nerve damage”.
“It’s alarming that universities in Hong Kong (have) turned into weapon factories,” he said.
“We appeal to students to mind their own safety and not come into contact with those dangerous items if found on campus or public place.”
“Regarding the standstill at (PolyU), the police have been searching for a peaceful resolution. Using force has always been the last resort in response to the violence of the rioters.”
Hong Kong’s Hospital Authority said 325 people, aged 15 to 66, were injured and sent to hospital. One is in critical condition.
PolyU, since November 17th had become a battleground between “peaceful protesters” and Hong Kong authorities, after thousands barricaded themselves in it and completely wrecked it.
Police have fired tear gas and rubber bullets in and around the campus, while protesters have thrown petrol bombs and bricks from makeshift sling-shots, and fired arrows from bows.
Many of the people in the campuses were underage, and police said they handed over their personal information to police and were then released.
On November 20th, there’s only a dozen protesters left at PolyU, with most just having left on their own volition.
A large “SOS” sign was laid out across an open courtyard, apparently intended to be viewed from above.
MSM even cited a protester calling himself “Ken,” who was overly dramatic of the situation.
“We will die because they don’t let me out,” he said. “Some people want to get out but they cannot. So we left this SOS.”
Despite police peacefully letting more than 1,000 leave without issue.
Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam called for the protesters’ surrender on November 19th, adding that those over 18 would face rioting charges, but minors would not be arrested.
Separately, the US Senate unanimously passed the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act.
🚨The Senate unanimously passes the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act. As the author of the United States-Hong Kong Policy Act of 1992 who has advocated for Hong Kong for decades, I am proud to stand with the protestors and hold China accountable. https://t.co/gugd9usrZi
— Leader McConnell (@senatemajldr) November 19, 2019
The Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act now goes to the House of Representatives, which earlier approved its own version of the measure. Thus, it’s likely that it will approve this one, as well.
The Senate passed a second bill, also unanimously, that would ban the export of tear gas, pepper spray, rubber-coated bullets and other munitions to Hong Kong’s police force.
China’s Foreign Ministry and the Hong Kong government condemned the legislation.
“(The bill) neglects facts and truth, applies double standards and blatantly interferes in Hong Kong’s internal affairs and China’s other internal affairs,” the Foreign Ministry said.
“We urge the U.S. to take immediate actions to prevent the bill from becoming law and to stop interfering with Chinese domestic matters,” China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Geng Shuang told reporters in Beijing.
The city’s government released a statement in which it expressed “deep regret” over the step, saying it will “harm the relations and common interests between Hong Kong and the U.S.”
Joshua Wong, a Hong Kong activist and front man of the rioters, was involved in lobbing the US Congress to pass the bill, urged Trump to sign on the bill as soon as possible.
“Supporting Hong Kong should not be a matter of left or right… It should be a matter of right or wrong,” Wong told the Nikkei Asian Review. “Human rights should never be overridden by a trade deal.”
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