Hong Kong police fire tear gas in new protests over surveillance fears

24 August 2019, 09:59 | Updated: 24 August 2019, 12:44

Police in Hong Kong have used tear gas for the first time in about 10 days to try to break up fresh anti-government protests.

The latest demonstrations took place in the Kwun Tong industrial district of the Chinese-ruled city on Saturday.

Some were seen throwing petrol bombs and bricks at the police.

Protesters took to the streets to demand the removal of smart lampposts over fears they could contain high-tech cameras and facial recognition software used for surveillance by Chinese authorities.

Activists, carrying umbrellas in the sweltering heat, filled a main road in the Kowloon peninsula, calling for the government to answer their demands.

Protesters set up makeshift barricades on a road outside a police station, as they faced off with police in riot gear.

"Hong Kong people's private information is already being extradited to China. We have to be very concerned," said march organiser Ventus Lau.

Umbrellas have become a symbol of passive resistance against the authorities.

The Umbrella Movement is a political group which emerged during the Hong Kong democracy protests of 2014.

The latest wave of demonstrations began almost three months ago over a now-suspended bill which would allow criminal suspects in Hong Kong to be extradited to mainland China.

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The protests are also fuelled by concerns about the erosion of freedoms guaranteed under the "one country, two systems" formula that was put in place after the territory returned from UK to Chinese rule in 1997.

Meanwhile, a British consulate employee has been released after 15 days of detention in mainland China.

Police in Shenzhen said Simon Cheng Man-kit was released as scheduled on Saturday, having been detained for violating public security management regulations.

The Global Times, a Communist Party-owned newspaper, said he had been detained for "soliciting prostitutes".

China often uses such charges against political targets.