Hong Kong police fire tear gas at protesters outside Sham Shui Po police station

Hong Kong police fired tear gas at protesters who had gathered outside a police station in the residential area of Sham Shui Po in Kowloon on Wednesday (August 14).
Riot police and vehicles assembled in front of Sham Shui Po police station at 10.10pm on Aug 14, 2019, after at least 20 rounds of tear gas were fired in the past hour to clear protesters.
Riot police and vehicles assembled in front of Sham Shui Po police station at 10.10pm on Aug 14, 2019, after at least 20 rounds of tear gas were fired in the past hour to clear protesters.ST PHOTO: LIM YAN LIANG
Police warn incoming traffic to clear the area at a road junction in Hong Kong's Sham Shui Po district on Aug 14, 2019.
Police warn incoming traffic to clear the area at a road junction in Hong Kong's Sham Shui Po district on Aug 14, 2019.ST PHOTO: LIM YAN LIANG

HONG KONG (REUTERS, AP) - Hong Kong police fired tear gas at hundreds of protesters who had gathered outside a police station in the residential area of Sham Shui Po in Kowloon on Wednesday (Aug 14) evening.

The protesters had gathered to burn “hell money” and incense as a way to show their opposition to the police during the month-long Hungry Ghost Festival, when offerings are made to ward off spirits of ancestors.

Police armed with riot shields and batons marched down streets in the blue-collar neighbourhood. Officers carried warning flags and fired tear gas as they advanced, but protesters had already scrambled away. At least 20 rounds of tear gas have been fired in the past hour to clear the crowd.

Last week, the district was the scene of a protest against police after they arrested a university student leader for buying laser pointers, which police said were being used as a weapon against them.

Increasingly violent protests have plunged the Asian financial hub into its most serious political crisis in decades, posing a challenge to the central government in Beijing.