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HK recovers from violent protests during WTO meeting
By Tonny Chan and Joseph Li (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-12-19 05:23

Tsang praised the police for acting professionally and using the minimum force to bring the situation under control, saying the number of injuries was small in relation to the size of the rioting crowds, and that this showed the police had exercised maximum tolerance.

He said many shops in Wan Chai and Causeway suffered business losses, and promised vigorous efforts would be made by tourism authorities to bring local activities back to normal. Tsang, however, ruled out compensating the shops.

Early yesterday, three men were still in hospital, including a Korean who remained in serious condition. Official figures showed at least 135 people 119 men and 16 women were injured, including 61 police.

Among those arrested include 730 men and 180 women, of whom a large numbers were Koreans. There were also demonstrators from Taiwan, Indonesia and Hong Kong.

Meanwhile, 5,000 protestors ignored the government's appeal for calm and pressed ahead with a rally in Victoria Park. They marched through the shopping districts in Causeway Bay and Wan Chai in the afternoon, before standing off with the police along the waterfront off the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC), where the conference was held.

Hundreds of Korean protestors held out on the waterfront last night, condemning the deal reached by delegates inside the HKCEC. They also demanded the police release their fellow nationals.

Buzzing streets were usually quiet yesterday. Around noon, the shutters of most shops in the area remained shut. The few which were open were prepared to shut down should the situation flare up again.

While many agreed with the police tactics to keep the use of force to the minimum even though it would lead to slower dispersal of the protesters, a member of the Korean group criticized the police for handcuffing his fellow nationals. "When our protesters resisted the handcuffs, Hong Kong police beat them," the member said.

(China Daily 12/19/2005 page2)

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