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Hong Kong police, protesters clash in fresh violent protest

HONG KONG: Police fired tear gas and used baton against the protester in Hong Kong.

Thousands of demonstrators, many in hard hats and gas masks, marched through the industrial Kwun Tong area on Saturday. Police charged the protesters when some on them launched stones from slingshots.

The demonstrations were sparked by an extradition bill but have since morphed into broader anti-government protests.

The protesters on Saturday faced off with police for several hours outside a police station in Kwun Tong, having constructed barricades from bamboo poles and traffic barriers.

They demanded the removal of so-called smart lampposts that authorities say are there only to measure air quality, but protesters fear could be used to implement Chinese surveillance, including facial recognition technology.

The standoff came to an end after a hard core of protesters threw bricks and water bottles at police and officers responded by charging and beating some of the demonstrators with batons.

Several protesters were detained as officers swept through their ranks.

The violence broke an uneasy peace that had lasted a little more than a week. Hundreds of thousands of people had marched without violence last Sunday, as protesters sought to regain the moral high ground over police.

The violence on Saturday came shortly after a worker at the UK consulate in Hong Kong was released by mainland China, Chinese police in Shenzhen said.

Simon Cheng went missing on 8 August after being held at the border during a business trip to the city but has now returned to Hong Kong.

China’s foreign ministry said Mr Cheng was detained for 15 days for violating public security laws. The UK welcomed his release.