Petrol bombs thrown in Hong Kong as anger flares over 'triad' attack on protest leader

Michael Zhang
Clashes broke out as tens of thousands took to the streets for an unsanctioned anti-government march - REUTERS

Police and protesters exchanged tear gas and petrol bombs in Hong Kong on Sunday amid anger over an attack on a leading activist by men allegedly linked to triad gangsters.  

Clashes broke out as tens of thousands took to the streets for an unsanctioned anti-government march, many also defying a face mask ban introduced in a bid to curb the protests. 

Tensions ran high after Jimmy Sham, the leader the Civil Human Rights Front which called the march, was attacked earlier in the week by a group of men wielding metal poles and hammers. Witnesses said that those responsible for the assault were associated with pro-Beijing triads that have been blamed for previous violence against protesters.  

On Saturday afternoon, a 19-year-old man was also hospitalised after being stabbed in the abdomen while handing out pro-democracy flyers in Tai Po, a district in northern Hong Kong. 

Politically motivated attacks and vandalism have been on the rise as the situation continues to escalate in what is now the twentieth consecutive week of protests. 

Protesters are now vandalising and destroying shops, banks, and businesses associated with mainland China.

As moderate, peaceful marchers branched off from the more radical, black-clad frontline protesters near Tsim Sha Tsui police station, violence flared.

Riot police fired tear gas and water cannon, drenching Hong Kong's biggest mosque with blue dye in what they said was an accident Credit: Kyle Lam/Bloomberg

Protesters threw molotov cocktails and set fire to makeshift barricades, while riot police charged with batons and fired volleys of tear gas and rubber bullets. 

Throughout the afternoon a water cannon truck chased protesters down Nathan Road, one of the city's busiest shopping thoroughfares, leaving it streaked with blue dye from the vehicle's turrets.

The dye, used to identify protesters, also contains a painful pepper solution.

The entrance to the city's biggest mosque was painted blue when the truck fired at a handful of people outside. Police said hitting the building was an accident.

Vivek Mahbubani, a Hong Kong-born comedian, stood with a group of friends on Nathan Road, handing out water and egg tarts to marchers.

“People passing by today shared our smiles and instead of feeling worried when passing. They all agreed that we are all Hongkongers," he told The Telegraph.

 “When I heard about the attack on Jimmy Sham, I was horrified. To think that Hong Kong has become a place where something like this can happen was shocking.”