Police safety checks on PolyU complete, campus to be handed back to university by noon

Police entering the Hong Kong Polytechnic University campus on November 28, 2019 to begin their search of the campus for evidence and protesters. Screengrab via Facebook video/RTHK.
Police entering the Hong Kong Polytechnic University campus on November 28, 2019 to begin their search of the campus for evidence and protesters. Screengrab via Facebook video/RTHK.

Police have confirmed that safety checks at Hong Kong Polytechnic University, the scene of a nearly two-week siege, have been completed and officers will leave the campus at about noon today.

Speaking to reporters gathered outside the PolyU this morning, Chow Yat-ming, the assistant commissioner of police operations, confirmed that officers had found some dangerous substances on the campus, including 280 petrol bombs, 318 butane gas cylinders, and 28 bottles of other chemicals.

“It’s pretty much complete, but because we have a lot of dangerous chemicals and goods, we need to arrange for those to be transported from the campus safely,” Chow said of the clean-up.

After police and fire services leave campus, it will be handed back over to the university management.

Chow also confirmed that no protesters were found inside the campus and that no arrests were made.

The police’s search of the PolyU campus began yesterday morning after heads of the university carried out their own two-day search for any students or protesters still left holed up inside.

While the searches by both police and the univsersity found no one still inside, RTHK reported that one protester held an impromptu press conference at the campus on Wednesday evening, claiming that some 20 people were still inside and would not be cooperating with authorities.

Police had stressed that they would only be entering campus to clear dangerous items and collect evidence, and that any protesters found inside wouldn’t be arrested, but would instead have their details taken down and be taken to hospital.

More than two weeks ago, four of the city’s universities — Chinese University, Hong Kong University, Baptist University, and PolyU — were turned into veritable fortresses as they became epicenters of protest activities, with pitched battles kicking off between police and mostly student protesters.

After a few days, however, PolyU was the only university still locked in a standoff with police, and things slowly returned to normal this week as the number of student protesters dwindled — with some staging dramatic escapes — and the nearby Cross Harbour Tunnel reopened.

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