Hong Kong descended into mayhem yesterday, after grisly clashes between protesters and the police, as tens of thousands surrounded the city's Central Government Complex and blocked major city roads.
The stand-off continued into Wednesday night, and at around 9.53pm, at least three rounds of tear gas were fired in Admiralty. Protesters temporarily took refuge in the nearby Pacific Place shopping centre, but returned to the roads once again as police offers began to fall back.
By 11pm, protesters gathered at the junction outside the AIA tower in Central and the junction of Hennesey and Queen's Road East towards Wan Chai. As midnight approached, protests in Central remained largely peaceful.
By 1am, the police were working towards reoping some of the closed roads, and numbers on Harcourt Road began to dwindle.
Today's coverage follows events as they unfold the day after yesterday's mass protest.
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[UPDATE - Thursday, 11.40pm]
US lawmakers have reacted to Hong Kong's proposed extradition law with a proposed law of their own, reporter Reuters. The law, if passed, would need the US Secretary of State to issue a certificate each year stating that Hong Kong is autonomous to justify the way the US gives Hong Kong special treatment under the US Hong Kong Policy Act of 1992.
The proposed law, introduced by Republican Senator Marco Rubio and Democratic Senator Ben Cardin, would also require the U.S. president to identify persons responsible for the abduction of several booksellers and other individuals from Hong Kong and subject them to US sanctions.
In addition, the legislation would also make clear that Hong Kong citizens should not be denied visas to the United States if they were arrested or detained in connection with protest activity there.
The law was due to be discussed on Thursday US time.
[UPDATE - Thursday, 11.34pm]
Associated Press reports that the Chinese ambassador to Britain has called "fake news" about the protests in Hong Kong.
In an interview with the BBC, Liu Xiaoming said “the whole story has been distorted” by media including the BBC. “You portrayed the story as the Hong Kong government made this amendment on the instruction of the Beijing government. As a matter of fact, Beijing — the central government — gave no instruction, no order about the making of this amendment.”
Liu added that China is upholding the “one country, two systems” principle under which Hong Kong is semi-autonomous and that the system has been successful.
[UPDATE - Thursday, 10.55pm]
Telegram, the encrypted messaging platform, reported a massive cyberattack which is said came mostly from China. The app is being widely used by demonstrators in Hong Kong.
The company said it was hit by a powerful distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack that filled servers with junk requests. In a series of tweets, Telegram said its servers were inundated with scores of “garbage requests” that interrupted users’ connections and kept the servers from processing “legitimate requests.” The junk requests did not threaten users’ data, the company said.
Pavel Durov, Telegram’s chief executive, said the cyberattack was traced to “IP addresses coming mostly from China” and that it “coincided in time with protests in Hong Kong.” The app, which says it has 200 million users worldwide, has been widely used in Hong Kong to coordinate demonstrations against a controversial extradition bill. Earlier this week, Hong Kong police arrested Ivan Ip, who ran a Telegram messaging group with thousands of members. Officials charged Ip with conspiracy to commit public nuisance.
[UPDATE - Thursday, 9.22pm]
Lawmakers don't seem to be in a hurry to pass the extradition law, says the Post. They cancelled tomorrow's Legislative Council meeting, hoping it would calm the mood in the city, a source said. The bill had been set for a vote on June 20, but now it seems the Pro-Bejing camp don't mind waiting until after July 1. Read the full story here
[UPDATE - Thursday, 8.50pm]
Protesters have taken to the MTR, blocking carriage doors and hitting the emergency stop buttons to slow the services. Some protesters put adverts in newspapers and spread invitations online to target the MTR. Some advertised free rides on the MTR, while others called on the public to follow the rules and also to help any passengers who fell ill at MTR interchange stations.
Motorists were also urged to be careful in the Cross-Harbour and Eastern tunnels – a call to drive slowly – and act responsibly by stopping their vehicles at a safe location if they appeared to have problems.
[UPDATE - Thursday, 8.50pm]
[UPDATE - Thursday, 8.45pm]
In a shocking development, sources say police are about to raid a residential hall at the University of Hong Kong.
[UPDATE - Thursday, 8.12pm]
Hong Kong's protests make the cover of Time's Asia edition and along with the story is an op-ed written by Joshua Wong Chi-fai who is currently in prison.
[UPDATE - Thursday, 6.21pm]
Liu Xiaoming, China’s top envoy in London publicly dismisses suggestions that Beijing was behind controversial changes to Hong Kong's extradition bill. Read the full story via SCMP here.
[UPDATE - Thursday, 6.12pm]
Some protesters continue to congregrate peacefully on a footbridge leading to Legco. They are singing hymns and handing out water to those who need it.
[UPDATE - Thursday, 6.04pm]
A Legco press release states that the extradition bill reading will not be held tomorrow, Friday June 14. An announcement will be made once the President determines the time of the meeting.
[UPDATE - Thursday, 5.52pm]
Pro-democracy Legislative Council member Eddie Chu Hoi-dick is at one of the walkways leading to the Legco complex, on the police side of a barricade they have set up. He told Young Post, “I’ve been trying to debate with the police to reopen this walkway, so that the public can have access to Legco but so far there is no progress.”
He went back to the protesters' side of the barricade after his dialogue with police.
[UPDATE - Thursday, 5.38pm]
Commissioner of Police Stephen Lo spoke to the media and stated the following: 11 people have been arrested on various charges such as disorderly contact, illegal assembly, assault on police and riot-related crimes. An appropriate amount of force was used as our officers felt their lives were threatened. 22 police officers were injured during the events on Wednesday. The police will continue to perform their duty and ensure Hong Kong people can safety express their opinions.
In the question and answer period with the press, he made these further statements:
The police officially defined the incident as a riot at 3pm yesterday.
More than 150 canisters of tear gas, a few rubber bullets and over 20 beanbag bullets were used. Counts are still ongoing.
He advises people with injuries to report their individual cases to the police for further investigation.
He denies the police are making organised searches of hospitals to arrest individuals, but are only acting on information based on reasonable suspicion. "If a triad member were in hospital, we would not wait for them to leave before arresting them."
[UPDATE - Thursday, 5.23pm]
Protesters on the footbridge leading to the Legco Complex. Signs say "Stop shooting Hong Kong students" and "Against the extradition bill"
[UPDATE - Thursday, 5.09pm]
Harcourt Road has been cleared of obstacles and is open to the public. However, evidence of Wednesday's clashes remain.
[UPDATE - Thursday, 5.05pm]
An injured teacher named Raymond Yeung from Diocesan Girls’ School has been arrested while he was at Queen Elizabeth Hospital. He was injured above his right eye. He was among four local males arrested at public hospitals for rioting. Read the full story via SCMP here.
[UPDATE - Thursday, 5.00pm]
Commissioner of Police Stephen Lo is scheduled to speak to the media at 5.00pm. Reporters at the venue are wearing hard hats, goggles, gas masks and reflective vests for the indoor event.
[UPDATE - Thursday, 4.55pm]
Civil Human Rights Front, the organiser of the June 9 protest, has applied for a permit to march this Sunday and a public gathering on Monday, they have revealed on their Facebook page. They are also calling for businesses, and students to strike on Monday, and will provide further details later.
[UPDATE - Thursday, 4.32]
Police have barricaded all entrances to the Legco complex with metal barriers. There is no access to Civic Square, even from the footbridge.
[UPDATE - Thursday, 4.17]
More police with shields and helmets have arrived at Tamar Park, where approximately 150 protesters are gathered, despite the rain. Young Post reporters say there are two booths, each sheltering seven officers.
The protesters were heard chanting "Withdraw" as the police arrived.
[UPDATE - Thursday, 4.05]
Volunteers have gathered first aid kits for protesters. Items such as masks, bandages and alcohol wipes among other things. They have set up outside iBakery in Tamar Park.
[UPDATE - Thursday, 3.53]
A pair of recent university graduates came at 2pm today and set up a booth with drawing materials for bystanders to write down or draw a picture to express their feelings. However, they have not had any takers so far.
[UPDATE - Thursday, 3.47]
A group of secondary students students between the ages of 16 and 17 are at Admiralty to give protesters near Legco supplies such as food and water.
They had a school exam this morning, which they didn’t sit as an act of defiance against the bill.
“I absolutely don’t think the government will change their mind, but it is absolutely my responsibility to come and do my part as a HK citizen,” said one 16-year-old student surnamed Lam.
[UPDATE - Thursday, 3.44]
Admiralty MTR station is operating as usual, with customers being able to enter and exit freely.
[UPDATE - Thursday, 3.39]
Legislative Council member Raymond Chan Chi-chuen's Facebook page is broadcasting a live video which showed Opposition lawmakers marching to Government House.
[UPDATE - Thursday, 2.41pm]
Protesters are confronting the police on the Admiralty walkway, holding sings in English and Chinese that read: "Stop shooting HK students".
[UPDATE - Thursday, 2.24pm]
In an interview with RTHK, former Civil Service Secretary official, Joseph Wong, criticised the police for shooting at protesters. He also urged the Independent Police Complaints Council to look into whether excessive force was used by officers.
[UPDATE - Thursday, 2.10pm]
More than half of the shops are closed at Admiralty Centre, the shopping mall opposite Pacific Place, according to SCMP.
The manager of a stationary shop in the building also told SCMP that the store lost more than 80 per cent of its business on Wednesday due to the chaos.
[UPDATE - Thursday, 1.59pm]
According to SCMP, as of now, 79 people have reportedly been injured during the clashes. This is higher than yesterday's reported number.
Among them, two men were in serious condition in Queen Mary Hospital, in Pok Fu Lam, while 13 others, including nine men and four women, were stable and in other hospitals around the city. The remaining 64 people have been discharged.
[UPDATE - Thursday, 1.41pm]
SCMP has learned that at least two protesters were arrested on Wednesday morning for rioting. One legal source said both arrests were made after Police Commissioner Stephen Lo Wai-chung described the clashes as a riot on Wednesday afternoon.
The pair were not arrested near Legco or government headquarters in Admiralty, where the clashes took place, but instead were taken into custody when they went to Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Kowloon to seek treatment for injuries sustained in the unrest.
Other protesters are believed to have been arrested for unlawful assembly, and the Post has asked police for the exact number of arrests made on Wednesday.
[UPDATE - Thursday, 1.09pm]
A large group of protesters have just gatehred at the corner of Admiralty centre on Harcourt Road.
[UPDATE - Thursday, 12.58pm]
According to multiple local media news outlets, this morning during rush hour the MTR Kwun Tong line suffered delays due to some incidents of passengers feeling unwell or falling over. Video clips show some mebers of the public clashing with MTR staff.
[UPDATE Thursday, 12.36pm]
According to AFP, Telegram, the encrypted messaging service used by protesters to communicate with each other, suffered a major cyber attack that appeared to originate from China, the company's CEO said today. They linked the attack to the ongoing political unrest. Many protesters used the service to evade electronic surveillance and coordinate their contingency plans.
[UPDATE - Thursday, 12.01pm]
Protesters on the Admiralty walkway peacefully face the police, who are blocking them from going any further with metal barriers.
[UPDATE - Thursday, 11.41am]
According to Bloomberg Next China, a small crowd of protesters have begun to gather on a covered walkway in Admiralty. They appear to be re-provisioning to stay, with water bottles, hard hats and bags of food.
[UPDATE - Thursday, 11.25am]
Some protesters clad in rain coats are back outside Hong Kong government offices to clean up the rubbish.
[UPDATE - Thursday, 11.05am]
An SCMP reporter has confirmed after receiving an email from the Legislative Council that the council meeting will not be held today.
[UPDATE - Thursday, 11.03am]
A recap of yesterday's events from our video team.
[UPDATE - Thursday, 10.59am]
Hong Kong pro-democracy lawyers meet the media at Legco this morning.
[UPDATE - Thursday, 10.13am]
Meanwhile, chaotic crowds inside Central MTR appear. "I waited on the platform at Central for over 15 minutes to get the train," says Riva Hiranand who was travelling from Kowloon Tong to Causeway Bay.
[UPDATE - Thursday, 10.06am]
Streets near Legco, including Queensway and Harcourt Road in Admiralty, are being cleaned after yesterday's protests.
[UPDATE - Thursday, 9.45am]
In a statement released by the Hong Kong government at 6am this morning, the Central Government Complex will be temporarily closed today and tomorrow due to security reasons. Staff are asked to work in accordance with the contingency plans of their respective departments. All visits to the buildings are postponed and cancelled as well.
[UPDATE - Thursday, 9.35am]
Hundreds of passengers wait for a shuttle bus at Kennedy Town station this morning, as alternative transport solutions have been made after the closure of Admiralty MTR.
[UPDATE - Thursday, 9.24am]
Pacific Place shopping centre - which acted as a spot for protesters to take refuge last night - is closed today. In a statement released on their website, due to the safety of their visitors, tenants and staff, all shops will remain closed all day. The hotels above the mall, along with One and Two pacific Place office towers remain open.
[UPDATE - Thursday, 8.45am]
The Hong Kong Observatory issued the Amber Rainstorm Singal. Heavy rainfall exceeding 20 millimetres an hour is expected to fall over Hong Kong. The thunderstorm warning is also in force, and expected to remain until 11.30am.