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The Latest: Clashes return to Hong Kong protests

August 24, 2019
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A protestor throws a block towards police as they clash during a protest in Hong Kong, Saturday, Aug. 24, 2019. Hong Kong protesters skirmished with police on Saturday as chaotic scenes returned to the summer-long protests for the first time in more than a week. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
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A protestor throws a block towards police as they clash during a protest in Hong Kong, Saturday, Aug. 24, 2019. Hong Kong protesters skirmished with police on Saturday as chaotic scenes returned to the summer-long protests for the first time in more than a week. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

HONG KONG (AP) — The Latest on Hong Kong protests (all times local):

6:40 p.m.

A large group of protesters is facing off with police in Hong Kong in a resumption of clashes after a lull the previous weekend.

Police used tear gas intermittently Saturday as they gradually drove back hundreds of protesters along a main road in the city’s Kowloon Bay area.

Each tear gas volley sent the black-clad protesters scampering in retreat before they took position again farther down the road.

The front-line protesters wore bright yellow helmets and gas masks with pink filters and tried to douse the fallen tear gas canisters with water.

After weeks of escalating violence, the protests were relatively peaceful last weekend.

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5:35 p.m.

Hong Kong police have used tear gas to disperse protesters who were massing near a police station.

Public broadcaster RTHK says riot officers moved in with batons on Saturday to drive away protesters who threw bricks and what appeared to be a gasoline bomb at them.

The clash followed a protest march earlier in the afternoon to Kowloon Bay, an area across the harbor from Hong Kong Island.

The pro-democracy demonstrators were targeting “smart lampposts” that had been erected in the neighborhood. They fear they would lead to increased surveillance, though the government has denied that.

One group of protesters built barriers across a street near the police station. They retreated after the police charge, but it wasn’t clear if they were regrouping to challenge the police again.

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4:35 p.m.

The British government has confirmed that an employee of the British Consulate in Hong Kong has been released after being detained in mainland China.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office said in a statement Saturday that “We welcome the release of Simon Cheng and are delighted that he can be reunited with his family.”

The government added that Cheng and his family “have requested privacy and we would be grateful if this is respected.”

Earlier, authorities in Shenzhen, a mainland city neighboring Hong Kong, said that Cheng had been released after 15 days of administrative detention.

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4:30 p.m.

Hong Kong protesters have cut down a “smart lamppost” that they feared would facilitate Chinese surveillance, in the city’s latest anti-government protest.

A group of protesters on Saturday used an electric saw to slice through the bottom of the lamppost, while others pulled ropes tied around it. They cheered as it toppled over.

The protesters were part of a larger group marching to demand the removal of smart lampposts installed in a Kowloon district over fears they could contain high-tech cameras and facial recognition software used for surveillance by Chinese authorities.

The government in Hong Kong, which has been convulsed by two months of protests, said smart lampposts only collect data on traffic, weather and air quality.

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11:10 a.m.

Chinese police say an employee at the British Consulate in Hong Kong who was detained on the mainland has been released.

Authorities in Shenzhen say Simon Cheng Man-kit was released as scheduled on Saturday after 15 days of administrative detention.

Shenzhen is the mainland city neighboring Hong Kong.

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