A crowd in Causeway Bay argued with officers who had set up cordons in the busy shopping area, even though no protesters were in sight.
Some were also angry that police appeared to be questioning young passers-by just because they were wearing black clothing.
With police officers gathered in MTR stations, it appeared that many protesters had chosen not to use the railway network to get home.
Officers keen to track down those involved in the disturbances were seen checking buses in Hung Hom for any protesters who had crossed the harbour that way.
Passengers were also ordered off buses in Wan Chai and told to stand against a wall to enable officers to check their belongings. In some instances, bags were emptied with the items inside laid out on the pavement.
Trams on Hong Kong Island were also being checked for any evidence that passengers on board had taken part in the clashes with the police on Harcourt Road earlier in the evening.
Riot officers had fired tear gas and a water cannon at hundreds of protesters who had been throwing bricks and the occasional Molotov cocktail towards the police and at the Central Government Complex.