Hong Kong police have confirmed the arrest of 148 people during the pro-democracy protests on Monday, the largest daily toll since the protests started two months ago.
“During the operation yesterday, the police arrested 148 people consisting of 95 males and 53 females, aged between 13 and 63-years-old,” Superintended John Tse told reporters.
For about two weeks, both police and protesters have employed increasingly confrontational tactics, plunging the city into a crisis. On Monday a general strike hit Hong Kong as police fired tear gas at more than a dozen locations against increasingly violent demonstrators.
At a press conference on Tuesday, police disclosed that they fired about 800 tear gas rounds that day nearly as many as the 1,000 rounds they said they had fired throughout the whole of the last two months.
Riot police also released 140 rubber bullets and 20 sponge rounds.
The press conference revealed details of how Monday’s clash was against the police who have become a trigger for public anger and are mocked by protesters as Beijing’s enforces.
Throughout Monday, pole stations were under attack from protesters throwing stones, eggs, bottles and using slingshots that fired bricks. The protesters also attacked an apartment complex where police officers and their families live.
Tse revealed that 21 police stations were affected by Monday’s protests although it was unclear if all of them were besieged.
“Within two short months, the rioters have recklessly destroyed the rule of law. Their acts have seriously hampered public safety,” the Superintended noted.
Protesters argue that police have long been using excessive violence against their movement and they had to resort in confrontational tactics after peaceful rallies failed to win any compromise. The police force, however, denies the accusations.