HONG KONG, Aug. 26 (CGTN) -- Protests turned even more violent in Tsuen Wan, in the western New Territories of Hong Kong, on Sunday as radical protesters viciously attacked police officers with various life-threatening means including petrol bombs.
Hong Kong police at an emergency press conference on early Monday morning reported 15 officers were injured after being attacked by rioters.
The violent protests left fifteen policemen injured, and thirty-six protesters were arrested.
Police earlier on Sunday issued a letter of no objection for the public procession held in Tsuen Wan. However, some extremely violent protesters deviated from the permitted route and turned the demonstration ugly.
Some radical protesters hurled bricks and petrol bombs at police officers outside Yeung Uk Road Market in Tsuen Wan. They also aimed harming light beams at the officers and set up barricades to confront the police.
Masked protesters, armed with poles and hats, escalated their violence in the afternoon and evening. They blocked roads in Tsuen Wan, paralyzing traffic in the vicinity. After repeated warnings to the protesters in vain, anti-riot police officers fired tear gas and used minimum force to disperse the rioters.
At the site, the police repeatedly unfurled signs calling for the protesters to back off and leave, but the police warnings were all ignored. A police commander at the scene ordered to deploy at least two specialized crowd management vehicles, commonly known as the "water cannon vehicles," to disperse the crowd.
At around 7:40 p.m. local time, a large group of radicals vandalized shops and entertainment venues at Yi Pei Square, Tsuen Wan. When several police officers arrived at the scene to keep order, radicals hurled hard objects at them, attacked them with different weapons, including long metal rods, and even chased them down the street. One of the police officers was knocked down to the ground.
Facing such a dangerous and life-threatening situation, police officers had no other choices and six of them pulled out their pistols and stayed on guard, and one of them fired a warning shot into the air, Hong Kong police said.
"Only when there were violent acts or illegal behaviors which endangered the safety of people at scene, Police would stop them by proportionate use of force to prevent the incidents from worsening," a police statement said.
"The protesters' violence disregarded the law and order and the police severely condemn such violence which was outrageous and have overstepped the bottom line of a civilized society," the statement said.
During the incidents, 29 men and seven women, aged 12 to 48, were arrested for offenses including unlawful assembly, possession of offensive weapons 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 toward 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.