Just as they had done before, police officers facilitated the participants in expressing their views during the public procession in Sha Tin on Sunday afternoon.
However, upon arrival at Yuen Wo Road, demonstrators refused to follow the planned route and started blocking nearby roadways, the statement said.
Afterward, an unlawful group assembled along Sha Tin Rural Committee Road, Yuen Wo Road and Wang Pok Street.
The group quickly distributed equipment including helmets and goggles.
Some protestors pried up bricks from pavements, stocked up considerable number of iron poles and other offensive weapons, demolished the railings nearby, and blocked the roads by railings and other miscellaneous objects.
“The police, with the mission of upholding the law of Hong Kong, would definitely stand at the forefront to maintain public safety and order,” the statement said.
Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor condemned the “rioters” at Sunday’s Sha Tin protest, as online videos showed police being attacked by protesters wearing black shirts, masks, and goggles.
Violent protestors deliberately attacked police officers and charged police cordon lines with different materials including traffic cones and unknown powder, Hong Kong Police said.
Later that evening, most of the demonstrators had dispersed. Some remaining protesters hurled bricks, umbrellas and helmets at the police officers on the platform of shopping arcades near Wang Pok Street and its vicinity.
In a chatroom on Telegram, a messaging service used by the protesters to organize and send information, a Global Times reporter saw protesters sharing information on the location of police officers and strategies used to escape, proving Sunday’s violence was carefully orchestrated.
Police officers were attacked while entering the arcades and thus deployed appropriate force to arrest violent protesters.
One officer claimed his finger was bitten off by protesters. The ongoing violence shocked Hong Kong residents and internet users throughout the Chinese mainland.
According to the statement, police arrested 47 protesters, including 29 men and 18 women for unlawful assembly, assault, obstruction, and weapons possession.
Among the 13 police officers sent to local hospitals for treatment, five are still receiving treatment.
Lam visited the wounded police officers at a hospital in Tai Po on Monday, the South China Morning Post reported.
Lo Wai-chung, Hong Kong Police commissioner, vowed to find those responsible and hold them accountable, the report also noted.
The aim of police enforcement is to maintain law and order and uphold the rule of law, Hong Kong Police said.
“Police will conduct an active investigation into the recent violent acts and take enforcement actions to bring those responsible to justice,” it added.