There were ugly scenes at the airport last night, as anti-extradition demonstrators held at least two people captive who they believed to be agents or infiltrators.
The protesters cornered the first man at around 9 pm, saying he was a mainland security officer. Police stormed the building around 11 pm and the man – who appeared to have fallen unconscious – was finally taken to hospital.
One officer briefly pointed his gun after coming under frenzied attack by protesters. The officers retreated after the victim had been evacuated, although the demonstrators tried to stop the ambulance from leaving by blocking it with baggage carts.
Later the protesters assaulted and tied up another mainland man who they accused of taking close up headshots of people with his mobile phone. The editor of the mainland Global Times newspaper later said that he was one of their reporters and had just been covering events.
Most of the protesters left the airport in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
The government condemned last night’s violence, saying a traveller and a reporters had been assaulted and an ambulance crew had been obstructed. It also criticised the attack on the police officer.
The government described the attacks as outrageous and said police would take “relentless” enforcement action to bring those involved to justice.