Number of people arrested since protests began breaks 6,000 mark

Screengrab via Facebook.
Screengrab via Facebook.

Police today announced that more than 6,000 people have been arrested since anti-government protests began six months ago.

Speaking to reporters at their regular 4pm press briefing this afternoon, Senior Superintendent Kong Wing-cheung of the Police Public Relations Branch confirmed that a total of 6,022 people, aged 11 to 84, have been arrested since protests began on June 9. Of those, 2,393 — or about 40 percent — are students.

Kong also said that 42 people — 37 men, and five women, aged 14 to 63 — were arrested over the weekend for offenses including rioting.

Police noted that at least 340 of those arrested were under 16, and that more than 900 people — about 15 percent of the total number arrested — have been formally charged.

In addition to the arrest figures, police also gave a rundown of crowd control weapons used since protests began. Officers have fired around 16,000 rounds of tear gas, 10,000 rubber bullets, 2,000 bean bag rounds, and 1,850 so-called “sponge grenades” — effectively a larger-caliber rubber bullet — since protests began.

They also confirmed that since June, the Complaints Against Police Office has received about 1,300 complaints against officers. They declined to comment on whether any officers had been formally suspended from duty.

Separately, the Hospital Authority has also confirmed that a total of 2,633 people have taken to hospital because of injuries sustained while taking part in protests, RTHK reports.

Six months ago today, hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets to express their opposition to a controversial bill that would have allowed extraditions to the mainland.

After months of massive protests, the extradition bill was finally withdrawn, but by then the government’s heavy-handed response to demonstrations had given rise to four other key demands, including an independent commission of inquiry into police brutality, the retraction of the the term “riot” to describe a largely peaceful June 12 protest that saw the first use of tear gas, amnesty for arrested protesters, and universal suffrage in electing the city’s leader.

People protesting a controversial extradition bill head into Admiralty on Sunday, June 9. Photo by Vicky Wong.
People protesting a controversial extradition bill head into Admiralty on Sunday, June 9. Photo by Vicky Wong.

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