Two Hong Kong universities announced on Monday they will heighten security and ban outsiders after a week of violent clashes on city campuses occupied by anti-government protesters.
The new arrangements, already adopted by the University of Hong Kong and with details being finalised by Baptist University, were announced on Sunday as Polytechnic University, having been taken over by groups of masked protesters, was turned into a war zone and engulfed in marathon pitched battles between protesters and police.
Days before that, the hilly Sha Tin campus of Chinese University was turned into a fortress stocked with petrol bombs and bows and arrows, after it was occupied by what the institution described as “non-students”.
In a notice issued on Sunday by acting executive vice-president Professor Richard Wong Yue-chim, HKU advised staff with offices on the main and Centennial campuses to work from home if possible.
“To better protect student and staff safety, effective immediately, colleagues and students should carry their valid staff or student cards at all times while on university premises. There will be [ID] check at entrance and exit points to the campus and at individual buildings,” the notice read. The rules would apply to all of its campuses.
A spokesman added that “outsider visitors” or “non-students or non-staff” would not be allowed entry.
The Pok Fu Lam university was the scene of relatively minor clashes over the weekend as masked radicals threw petrol bombs from a footbridge at local residents and volunteers who went there to clear the roads.
Baptist University bosses were considering similar “student-and-staff-only” measures, according to a notice issued by its president Professor Roland Chin.
Chin said that “the disruptions to our Kowloon Tong main campus by protesters had ended and the surrounding roadblocks cleared. The campus is now quiet and peaceful.”
Chin’s message did not mention the participation of People’s Liberation Army soldiers, local residents, firefighters and police officers on Saturday in helping clear up roadblocks, bricks and barbed wire left on the roads by protesters.
The president said the campus clean-up was still under way and could take “a few more days” and asked students and staff not to go to the site on Monday.
“As suggested by some students and colleagues, we would further step up security on campus,” he said.
“We would consider a closed campus for [Baptist University] students and staff only by tightening control at entry points to our campus. Further details would be announced later.”
Chinese University had announced the closure of all offices on campus from Monday to Wednesday.