Chief superintendent John Tse said the force has received intelligence suggesting that various “attacks” are being planned for Tuesday’s National Day, and the police are “deeply concerned about public safety”.
“We have got intelligence suggesting that some hardcore, violent protesters are inciting others, including those with suicidal tendencies, to commit extreme acts such as murdering the police, disguising themselves as police officers to kill others, and setting fire to petrol stations,” Tse said.
Government supporters have been sharing posts on social media involving similar claims.
At a press briefing, the force said 157 people had been arrested over the weekend, the vast majority of them on Sunday when violent clashes erupted in several parts of Hong Kong Island.
With the protesters setting fires and throwing bricks and Molotov cocktails, officers responded by firing 328 tear gas canisters, 306 rubber bullets, 95 bean bag rounds and 79 sponge rounds, the force said. An officer also shot a live round in the air in Wan Chai.
“Some rioters even threw petrol bombs at ground floor shops on Fleming Road in Wan Chai, endangering the safety of ordinary residents. This proves their brutality is indiscriminate,” Tse said.
He added that “the ugly scene of mobs randomly throwing punches and kicks at civilians on the streets have left a scar on everyone’s hearts”.
Protesters were planning to hold a march from Causeway Bay to Central on Tuesday, but this has been cancelled due to a police ban.
Posts on social media have since called for protesters to rally in several parts of the territory instead.