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Police vehicle set ablaze, officers shot by rioters' arrow, metal ball as violence escalates in Hong Kong

(Xinhua)    17:01, November 18, 2019

A masked rioter is standing out among his group in a standoff with police outside the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong, south China, Nov. 17, 2019. (Xinhua)

In a fresh bout of violence on Sunday rioters set a Hong Kong police vehicle on fire with petrol bombs and attacked two police officers with arrow and metal ball outside the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) in Kowloon.

HONG KONG, Nov. 17 (Xinhua) -- In a fresh bout of violence on Sunday rioters set a Hong Kong police vehicle on fire with petrol bombs and attacked two police officers with arrow and metal ball outside the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) in Kowloon.

The police armored vehicle was attacked with petrol bombs hurled by the rioters who had blocked traffic at a major sea crossing tunnel, and TV footage showed fire engulfed the front side of the vehicle on a flyover near the PolyU.

The PolyU university is located near the entrance of the Hung Hom Cross Harbor Tunnel to the Hong Kong Island.

A police officer was struck in the calf by an arrow while another was hit by a metal ball in the visor, both shot by rioters who occupied roads outside the PolyU and attacked the police with lethal weapons.

A member of the police media liaison cadre was shot by the arrow at around 2:00 p.m. local time and sustained injury when he was carrying out duties next to the Kowloon Rosary Church, about 30 meters away from the PolyU campus, according to the police. He was transferred to the hospital in conscious state.

Meanwhile, an anti-riot police officer was hit by a metal ball in the visor, right above his nose, according to the police.

A large group of journalists were also reporting in the same area where the police media liaison cadre was hit, therefore such an attack "poses a grave threat to the safety of everyone at scene," the police noted.

Rioters set fire on road outside of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University in Hong Kong, south China, Nov. 17, 2019. (Xinhua)

The attacks took place as rioters continued to occupy the roads outside the PolyU campus Sunday and launched repeated attacks on police officers using lethal weapons including bricks, petrol bombs, bows, arrows and metal balls.

After taking control of a platform near Block A of PolyU, rioters launched hard objects and petrol bombs with large catapults at police officers, the police said.

Dozens of petrol bombs were hurled toward the police from the rioters between 5:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. local time, they said.

TV footage and photos showed that roads near PolyU were like a war zone, with fires burning on the roads and the flyover connecting the campus and the Hung Hom mass transit railway (MTR) station. Multiple explosions were heard while flame even dropped to the road beneath.

Attacks launched by these large catapults, with a shooting range of up to 40 meters, had severely threatened the safety of police officers, reporters and first-aiders at the scene, the police said.

The police warned that the violent activities in the PolyU had escalated to rioting, noting that a large amount of offensive weapons, including flammable fluids, were stored on the campus, jeopardizing public safety.

The police strongly condemned the violent acts and warned the rioters to stop illegal acts immediately. They also advised the public to avoid going to the vicinity of the PolyU as the situation kept deteriorating.

Police also advised the public not to assist rioters in any way or they would risk committing the offence of "Taking Part in a Riot."

Rioters dig bricks of pavement to erect roadblocks outside the Hong Kong Polytechnic University in Hong Kong, south China, Nov. 17, 2019. (Xinhua)

Meanwhile, the police clarified that the Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD) was deployed to give warnings to rioters, which is a broadcasting system rather than a weapon as rumors claimed.

"The LRAD does not generate ultra-low frequency which will cause dizziness, nausea or loss of sense of direction," police said in a statement. "Police have strict guidelines and regulations on using the LRAD."

In a separate statement, a spokesman for the Leisure and Cultural Services Department called on people not to damage the Hong Kong Museum of History, which is close to the PolyU.

A petrol bomb is burning after being thrown on street by rioters from a flyover near the Hong Kong Polytechnic University in Hong Kong, south China, Nov. 17 2019. (Xinhua)

In a bid to paralyze traffic across Hong Kong, rioters have been erecting roadblocks, setting fires and damaging public transport facilities for nearly a week, which has severely affected transportation and threatened public safety.

The Education Bureau of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government decided on Sunday to extend school class suspension to Monday over safety concerns.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)
(Web editor: Sheng Chuyi, Bianji)

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