Protesters clashed with riot police outside a mall in Hong Kong on Sunday, vandalizing a nearby subway station and defacing a Chinese flag, but plans to disrupt the airport did not materialize.
Police fired brief volleys of tear gas and rubber bullets in the northern town of Sha Tin late Sunday afternoon, capping a day that saw thousands rally peacefully inside a mall before the mood soured.
Authorities reduced rail and bus links to the city's airport while police stepped up security checks in a successful bid to stop a crowd from massing at the bustling transport hub.
The airport — the world's eighth busiest — has become a frequent target for individuals protesting a bill that would have allowed the extradition of suspects to mainland courts. The Hong Kong government has killed that bill.
Online forums used by the largely leaderless movement had called for a "stress test" of the airport on Sunday, code for disrupting travel links or occupying buildings.
Tensions rose later in the afternoon. Masked protesters paraded a Chinese flag through the mall that had been torn down from a nearby government building. It was later thrown into a nearby river.
The masked protesters then vandalized ticket machines in Sha Tin's subway before riot police rushed in to close the station down.
Before police arrived, local television networks showed footage of a man with bruises and cuts to his face being harangued by protesters inside the station.
Police made multiple arrests.
Riot officers were also called in to rescue Patrick Nip, a minister in the Hong Kong government, after his chauffeured car was surrounded by angry protesters, local news outlets South China Morning Post and RTHK reported.
(By staff and AFP)