HONG KONG, Nov. 11 (Xinhua) -- After paralyzing traffic across Hong Kong during the morning rush hour, rioters kept escalating violence at various locations on Monday by hurling petrol bombs at university campuses and in metro stations and assaulting residents who did not agree with them, even setting a passer-by ablaze.
Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Carrie Lam said in the evening that the HKSAR government will not yield to pressure from escalating violence that is destroying Hong Kong.
The footbridge linking Sheung Shui rail station, New Territories in Hong Kong, was bustling with people on Monday morning just like every workday. However, passengers, rather than heading for work or school, were escaping from violence, scared and nervous.
"Come on. We can't get on the train. Somebody threw petrol bombs into it," a middle-aged woman told her companion.
The entrance of the station was shut, so did a couple of shops nearby. Looking through the rolling gate into the station, a stream of water was flowing from a broken fire sprinkler and a fire hydrant was opened and damaged. The sound of fire alarm echoed in the station.
The chaos in Sheung Shui station was spotted all over Hong Kong this morning. Rioters threw objects on running trains, abandoned a bicycles on tracks and hurled petrol bombs in trains and stations.
A total of 25 stations including Sai Wan Ho, Whampoa and Tung Chung were closed due to disruptive activities and more than half of metro lines were partially suspended or delayed, including East Rail, Tseung Kwan O and Tsuen Wan lines.
Roads were cut off with garbage and bricks in various districts, including a traffic artery linking the Hong Kong Island and Kowloon. Heavy smoke could be seen billowing up as radicals set fire to barricades they erected. The disruptions led to over 100 bus routes being suspended or diverted.
Some radicals fled into the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) and the Chinese University of Hong Kong, committing arson, vandalizing facilities, and assaulting police with petrol bombs and hard objects.
At noon, outside Sheung Shui station, a lady surnamed Chin was among a large crowd of passengers stuck in the traffic chaos, discussing with her friends how to get to the downtown.
However, the journey may not be easy as bus routes stopped and there was a long queue in the taxi stand. "I can do nothing but just wait. When will all such things come to an end?" Chin asked.
Drivers and passers-by were surrounded and bitterly beaten when they were trying to remove the barricades or reasoning with the radicals.
In Ma On Shan area in the New Territories, online footage showed that a middle-aged man in green T-shirt was punched to bleed by some masked protester. When he was reasoning with the protesters, a black-clad and masked rioter poured flammable liquid over his head and chest and set him on fire.
The Hong Kong Hospital Authority confirmed that the man was sent to the Prince of Wales Hospital and was in critical condition.
Condemning the attack as "totally inhumane," Carrie Lam said the rioters would never succeed in achieving their so-called political demands by hurting ordinary citizens, and their violence would be denounced by the whole society.
What the rioters have done has gone far beyond pursuit of demands and made themselves into enemies of the public, Carrie Lam said.
Lam said violence is not giving any solution to any problem and will only breed more violence, calling on the public to keep calm and stay away from any unlawful activities.
The violence on Monday has drawn strong condemnation in Hong Kong society and the appeal for measures to end the upheaval and bring back peace is on the rise.
The MTR corporation expressed its outrage and strong condemnation in a statement at noon. "Rioters' acts posed a very serious threat to the safety of passengers, MTR staff and railway facilities, which can not be tolerated at all."
The PolyU condemned the violent acts at its campus in a statement, and the Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU) expressed concerns about the unrest and called on all its members to stay clear of violence.
Several universities were forced to continue suspending classes, including the PolyU, the University of Hong Kong and the HKBU.
Roland Chin, HKBU president, said graduation ceremonies to be held from Thursday to next Monday have to be called off due to vandalism at the campus in a letter to faculties and students.
During morning's traffic turmoil, a rioter was shot by a traffic police officer for attempting to snatch the latter's gun in Sai Wan Ho. The rioter and others were building barricades at a crossroad.
The officer opened fire because he believed it was very likely that his revolver would be snatched and the consequence would be disastrous as casualties would have been resulted, said Chief Superintendent of Police Public Relations Branch Tse Chun-chung at a press conference in the afternoon. "We certainly believe our officer did not have bad intention to hurt anyone."
However, the personal data of the officer was leaked online quickly, and bloody threats were made targeting his children.
A total of 64 people were injured in violent incidents across Hong Kong as of 4:00 p.m. The man who was shot was also in critical condition. Four males and one female were in serious condition.