After another day of unrest in which one protester was shot by the police and another man set on fire by protesters, the city's top official dismissed as "wishful thinking" any belief that by escalating violence, the government could be pressured.
Speaking to the media briefly in the evening, Chief Executive Carrie Lam said yesterday's unrest led to a larger number of casualties - more than 60 people were injured, with two in critical condition.
"If there is still any wishful thinking that by escalating violence, the Hong Kong government will yield to pressure to satisfy the so-called political demands, I'm making this statement clear and loud here. That will not happen," said Mrs Lam.
She was speaking after protesters, who had called for a citywide strike and a class boycott, went on a rampage, blocking roads, burning debris on university campuses as well as on roads, using petrol bombs and throwing items such as chairs from overhead bridges onto the Cross Harbour Tunnel.
The transport network was crippled with more than 20 MTR stations shut and bus services reduced for most of the day.
In a new trend, the violence spread to universities with tear gas fired on four campuses - the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU), University of Hong Kong, and the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST).
The new battleground emerged after the death of 22-year-old HKUST computer science undergraduate Alex Chow Tsz Lok last Friday - the first student death linked to the anti-government protests that have gripped the city for the past five months. Mr Chow was reported to have fallen in a carpark in Tseung Kwan O while police were conducting dispersal operations nearby.
At least eight universities and institutes, including the Education University and Baptist University, cancelled classes yesterday, while four others, including the CUHK and PolyU, said classes would remain suspended today as well.
During lunch hour, protests spread to the financial district where along the main roads in Central, hundreds in office attire were yelling in Cantonese at the riot police, denouncing them as "murderers".
Anger mounted after news spread that a police officer had shot a 21-year-old male protester in the morning in Sai Wan Ho, east of Hong Kong Island, leaving him in critical condition.
Police said at a briefing that an officer had fired three shots, and one hit a protester.
They said the officer had arrested a protester but was quickly outnumbered, so he drew his service revolver but protesters tried to snatch the gun. "At that time, the officer believed it was very likely that the revolver would be snatched and the consequences would be disastrous," the police said.
Separately, a 57-year-old man, who was set on fire in Ma On Shan during an argument with protesters, was also in critical condition in hospital.
Video footage of the incident posted on messaging channels showed a masked man dressed in black throwing a liquid over the victim and setting him alight as the crowds scattered.
Mrs Lam slammed the incident as "a totally inhumane act that nobody should condone".
She also referred to "malicious" rumours circulating on social media and called on the community to remain calm. She did not elaborate on the nature of the falsehoods.
The continuing unrest took a toll on the stock market which ended 2.62 per cent lower - the biggest single-day drop in more than three months - outpacing losses in the region.
Yesterday's violence followed a day of clashes in the New Territories and Kowloon, where confrontations lasted into the small hours of yesterday morning in Mong Kok.