The police have warned protesters that officers may start using live ammunition against protesters, after a day of violent clashes around the Polytechnic University. Photos appearing to show police holding AR15-style semi-automatic weapons have been circulating online, further raising fears of a bloody crackdown.
During a live video broadcast published on the force’s Facebook page, police spokesman Louis Lau said protesters have been using a variety of lethal weapons against officers, and warned that they may start responding with deadly force.
“I hereby warn the rioters: stop using petrol bombs, arrows, vehicles or any other lethal weapons to attack police officers, and stop all acts of assault. If they continue these dangerous acts, we will have no choice but to use the necessary minimal force, including live ammunition, to hit back”, Lau said.
At least three people have been shot with live ammunition during the five-plus months of anti-government protests, including a 21 year-old student who was shot in the torso last week.
Lau also revealed that at around 10pm on Sunday evening, a group of officers were heading towards Chatham Road South on Austin Road when someone allegedly tried to ram into them from behind with a white private vehicle. He said one officer fired a single shot, and the vehicle then made a U-turn, before driving off towards the direction of East Tsim Sha Tsui.
He said police condemn the “terrorism-like act”.
A large group of masked protesters wearing black are still out on Cheong Wan Road by the intersection of Chatham Road South, periodically throwing petrol bombs towards riot police, who’ve been in turn firing tear gas back, as well as using bursts of water cannon.