A Hong Kong police officer was stabbed in the neck on Sunday in one of the worst acts of violence against the authorities during the 19th straight weekend of civil unrest in the global financial hub.
Graphic footage emerged of the policeman being stabbed in the neck from behind with a sharp object as his team retreated towards Kwun Tong metro station.
The police confirmed that two people had been arrested at the scene and the officer had been transferred to hospital “in a conscious state” and was stable.
A police source said that the officer had sustained a 3cm cut to his neck, and while it was still hard to confirm the extent of his injuries, that the attack was “one of the worst” when seen “in terms of malice, in terms of an attempt to kill the officer.”
Flash mob-style protests had initially peacefully in multiple locations with small groups of a few hundred people chanting “Free Hong Kong” slogans but soon developed into chaotic clashes with the riot police as more radical black-clad activists trashed shops and erected barricades on busy roads.
Dozens were reportedly injured, numerous arrests were made and tear gas was deployed to disperse protesters, although the police said “minimum force” was used. As night fell, about 20 Molotov cocktails were thrown at a police station in Mongkok in Kowloon.
Earlier in the day, protesters played a game of cat-and-mouse with riot officers in Mongkok’s busy shopping district – blocking roads with metal railings and bamboo sticks, only to disappear into a warren of side streets when police vans arrived to clear the way.
The Telegraph witnessed at least two rough arrests and an injured officer on the ground on the main thoroughfare of Nathan Road. One bystander claimed that a young man had been detained simply for being alone in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Crowds of residents surrounded the police, hurling insults and accusing them of being “mafia,” jeering as the vans pulled away and giving officers the finger. Video footage of an officer being floored by a protester’s flying kick during another attempted arrest in the area went viral.
Elsewhere, the ongoing anti-government protests, which began in opposition to a controversial extradition bill but have now widened into an appeal for universal suffrage and greater democracy, played out more peacefully.
On Saturday night, pro-democracy demonstrators performed the exhausting feat of hauling a four-metre statue called “Lady Liberty” to the top of the Lion Rock, a 495-metre peak overlooking Kowloon’s skyscrapers.
The statue, which has become one of the many symbols of the movement, was left watching over the city wearing a gas mask, protective goggles and a helmet, proclaiming the slogan “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times”.
Meanwhile, as younger protesters tried to taunt and out-run the police, the older generation were staging their own rebellion.
About 100 “silver hair” protesters gathered for a 48-hour sit-in outside the main police headquarters in Wan Chai on Hong Kong island this weekend, chanting anti-government slogans and making protest banners.
A masked old man took out a black marker pen and wrote insults against the police on the barriers surrounding the station before running away giggling.
The group’s presence was a sign of the city’s continuing widespread anger over the government’s handling of the worst political crisis in decades. Although the summer’s mass rallies have largely been led by the young, support for their pro-democracy demands crosses generations.
“We want to say we are the silver haired coming together. We are old but we want to support the younger people. We can’t go to the frontlines but we are in the back to support them,” said Mr Yip, 73, who had come with his 70-year-old wife and two small picnic stools. “I support democracy, I hate the government now.”
Alan Fung, 62, was one of about a dozen pensioners who had braved the humidity as they huddled through the night under a bridge next to the station.
He admitted that he had not got much sleep but said he wanted to camp outside to “protect the young people” and prevent more clashes in the area with the police. “We don’t want it to be dangerous for them again,” he said.
“If we are noisy the government will see that it’s not just the young people who support the campaign but we are too.”