China frees consulate staff as protesters target lampposts

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The protests began as opposition to a bill proposed by the Hong Kong government, which would have allowed the extradition of criminals incarcerated in Hong Kong to China.

When the protesters refused to budge, several hundred police officers rushed the roadway, chasing the protesters and firing tear gas canisters at them.

According to the statement on August 24 from Luohu police, "law enforcement guaranteed Cheng's legal rights and interests in accordance with the law" during his detention.

Protesters used an electric saw to slice through the bottom of the lamppost, while others pulled ropes tied around it.

Google announced the action Thursday, three days after Facebook and Twitter said they had removed accounts identified as linked to China-backed disinformation campaigns on their platforms aiming to discredit Hong Kong protesters.

On Saturday, Hong Kong's chief executive Carrie Lam expressed a desire to open a dialogue * a href="https://www.facebook.com/carrielam.hksar/?tn-str=k*F" *on Facebook.

China promised to respect the freedoms in the semi-autonomous territory of Hong Kong after its handover from Britain in 1997 - including freedom of speech, unfettered access to the internet and an independent judiciary.

"I think the fact that this afternoon over 5,000 participants joined the march tells the world that we are not intimidated", said lawmaker Kenneth Leung Kai-cheong, an organizer of the demonstration.

The protests in Hong Kong intensified on Sunday after protesters surrounded a police station and dismantled a "surveillance lamppost" with a chainsaw, prompting the police to fire tear gas to disperse them.

One group of protesters built barriers across a street near the police station.

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Four MTR subway stations were shut down in Kwun Tong, a densely populated area of the Chinese-ruled city, though thousands of protesters filled the streets anyway, many carrying umbrellas as protection from the sun.

Fung, who was born in Hong Kong and moved to Canada more than two decades ago, has been supporting pro-Hong Kong demonstrators since June.

The bill has been suspended but not formally withdrawn, raising fears it could be revived by Hong Kong's Beijing-buttressed government.

Mr Cheng is a trade and investment officer at the Scottish Development International section of the British Consulate General in Hong Kong.

This week, the Chinese government's announced this week that Simon Cheng Man-kit, a British Consulate worker, was detained in the city of Shenzhen, stoking tensions in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong police said Friday that said the city's high court had extended an order restricting protests at the airport.

The Global Times, a state-run tabloid, said he had been held for "soliciting prostitutes", citing the police in Shenzhen.

The Canadian Consulate in Hong Kong said Friday it has suspended official travel for local staff, following the detention of a U.K. Consulate employee during a trip to mainland China.

Lau said MTR was working with the government to "suppress freedom of expression". China often uses public order charges against political targets and has sometimes used the accusation of soliciting prostitution.

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