Hong Kong protesters appear in court to face rioting charges

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"The Hong Kongers are quite casual but you could tell that they were ready for something". Separately, a 24-year-old man was charged with possession of offensive weapons.

All but the airline pilot have been slapped with a travel ban, after the pilot's lawyers argued that he would lose his job if prevented from traveling.

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Their sentencing is scheduled for September 25.

On Sunday, demonstrators took over the streets of northern Hong Kong Island, but the protest turned violent after police attempted to disperse the crowds and the demonstrators fought back by making the roads slick with cooking oil and eggs against the advancing riot police discharging tear gas into the air. The court granted bail to all 44 defendants and issued an arrest warrant for one defendant, who did not show up in court.

The government has since paused work on the bill, but protesters want it withdrawn completely.

The HKMA on Thursday lowered its base rate to 2.5% from 2.75%, in step with the Fed's quarter point move according to a "pre-set formula", the monetary authority said in a statement.

Another supporter, surnamed Cheung, said he had come along to show his support for a friend who had been arrested.

Protesters defaced the emblem of Hong Kong, spray-painted slogans, and unfurled the colonial-era flag. "They want us to be afraid, but I think that we are less and less likely to surrender, the more they act like this".

Hong Kong broadcaster RTHK reported the justice department had rejected accusations in an open letter written by some government prosecutors that Justice Minister Theresa Cheng's decision to use the rioting charge was politically motivated because there was insufficient evidence.

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Tung claimed that "foreign politicians and anti-China forces with ulterior motives" are working "to incite the fear of the people of Hong Kong and undermine the relationship between the mainland and Hong Kong".

Requests for comment to the Hospital Authority went unanswered at the time of writing on Wednesday. It is the first time the Hong Kong government has used the charge.

'What is happening in Hong Kong is no longer the airing of real or imagined grievances, ' the editorial said.

China's People's Liberation Army in Hong Kong has released a video showing footage of "anti-riot" exercises as top brass warned protest violence was "absolutely impermissible".

The auto then caused a bus crash before leaving the scene at speed. Six people were reportedly injured in the incident with five being sent to the hospital.

Many held umbrellas, a symbol of the 2014 Hong Kong democracy protests, and used them as a rudimentary shield.

He reiterated an earlier statement, in which he blamed Beijing for instigating a violent mob attack at the Yuen Long metro station on July 21 evening, when a group of men in white t-shirts wielding wooden and metal poles beat up passengers.

"I would just say, I hope that people who remember what happened after Tiananmen Square in June 1989 take that into account", he said.

Hong Kong protesters have a busy schedule in the coming days with a civil servants' rally planned for Friday night, pro-democracy demonstrations during the weekend and a large-scale strike on Monday.

"All consequences are at your own risk", a soldier yells into a loudspeaker at the start of the drill in Cantonese, the language spoken in Hong Kong rather than the Mandarin of mainland China.

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