HONG KONG • Police in Hong Kong this week re-entered the campus of a university it besieged for more than 10 days last month, gathering newly discovered chemicals and petrol bombs hoarded by anti-government protesters in the China-ruled city.
Following the dramatic saga - where riot police and more than 1,000 demonstrators transformed Hong Kong's Polytechnic University (PolyU) campus into a battleground - officers were called to retrieve additional dangerous items found among the debris and stowed in locked areas.
Between Nov 26 and Monday, the authorities seized 4,296 petrol bombs, 671 bottles of chemicals and 622 weapons, police said on Tuesday. Officers first entered the PolyU campus on Nov 28, when they collected thousands of petrol bombs, which they dusted for fingerprints, as well as bows and arrows and bottles of chemicals.
The campus conflict began in the middle of last month when protesters barricaded themselves against riot police in days of violent clashes that marked a significant escalation in the political unrest that has roiled the former British colony for six months.
About 1,100 people were arrested in connection with the siege.
Sparked by a controversial and since-withdrawn extradition Bill, the protests have swelled into broader calls for greater democratic freedoms.
Those who have joined the pro-democracy demonstrations accuse China of increasingly interfering in freedoms promised to the former British colony when it was returned to Chinese rule in 1997.
Pro-democracy parties won a resounding victory in local district council elections late last month. Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam has appealed for peace in the city but has not offered any concessions.