The Hong Kong police said on Monday that they have arrested 58 people over the past few days as a short period of calmness in Hong Kong was interrupted by another weekend of violence.
"I believe most citizens in Hong Kong are upset that violence once again returned," Chief Superintendent Kwok Ka-chuen of Police Public Relations Branch (PPRB) told a press briefing on Monday afternoon.
Multiple districts in Kowloon descended into chaos over the weekend as rioters hijacked public order events and resorted to destructive acts like building barricades on roads, setting fires and vandalizing public facilities, Kwok said.
The rioters stormed and smashed shops and restaurants in the Whampoa area, and inflicted extensive damage to metro stations and transport facilities. Some rioters also hurled bricks and petrol bombs at police officers and vehicles, breaking the windshield of a police vehicle and hitting an officer inside.
During an assembly in Tsim Sha Tsui on Sunday, a large number of protesters deviated from the police-approved route of procession, and proceeded to the Hung Hom bypass where they hurled bricks and glass bottles from height at the police officers. As their repeated warnings were ignored, the police officers had no choice but to use tear gas for dispersal, Kwok said.
"We stress repeatedly that police officers are in a reactive mode. If rioters did not commit dangerous or destructive acts, there's no reason for police to respond with force," he said.
According to Senior Superintendent Kong Wing-cheung of PPRB, since Friday the police have arrested 48 males and 10 females, aged between 14 and 36, for offenses including unlawful assembly, possession of offensive weapons and criminal damage.
This has brought the total number of people arrested since June to 5,947.