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Arrests and dramatic escapes at Hong Kong's under-siege university

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published 3 weeks ago - Duration: 02:25s

Arrests and dramatic escapes at Hong Kong's under-siege university

Hundreds of protesters have left the under-siege Polytechnic University in Hong Kong, most handing themselves in to police but some through daring escapes.

David Doyle reports.

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Arrests and dramatic escapes at Hong Kong's under-siege university

Hundreds have left the flaming battleground of Hong Kong's Polytechnic University, though scores of defiant protesters remain inside.

Some left through daring escape attempts; around a dozen shimmying down plastic hosing from a bridge before fleeing on waiting motorbikes as police fired projectiles.

Others tried to leave through the sewers but their efforts failed and they were forced to retreat back onto the campus.

For those who have escaped, Hong Kong's police has a message: (SOUNDBITE) (Cantonese) SENIOR SUPERINTENDENT OF POLICE PUBLIC RELATIONS BRANCH, KONG WING-CHEUNG, SAYING: "Let me tell you this, you can run but you cannot run forever.

Just like the day before, a man that was identified by us has been arrested.

Criminals that have escaped will eventually be captured." But most who have left the campus handed themselves in - driven to desperation after police surrounded the institution and subjected it to two days of siege.

Police said around 400 adults and 200 under the age of 18 had surrendered.

On the campus grounds, many fear lengthy sentences if they are charged with rioting - as police have threatened.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) PROTESTER AND SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENT, 16, MELODY FOO, SAYING: "Just now I was quite desperate because our only way is to surrender." This is 16-year-old protester Melody Foo.

She's been on the campus for five days and is speaking shortly before she planned to give herself up.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) PROTESTER AND SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENT, 16, MELODY FOO, SAYING: "We have been trying to escape since yesterday morning.

But then we couldn't find a way out." Hong Kong's leader Carrie Lam says there are above 100 people still on the campus.

She's called for a peaceful resolution as far as possible, but decried that the university had become a quote "weapons factory" and warned that police are ready to take "necessary action" if there are "major, life-threatening incidents".

Outside the campus, the parents of those protesters still inside want to avoid a tragedy.

(SOUNDBITE) (Cantonese) MOTHER OF (MALE) PROTESTER TRAPPED INSIDE POLYTECHNIC UNIVERSITY, 50, MRS CHAN, SAYING: "As parents we only have one wish.

We hope that each and every one of them can safely return home with us." The Polytechnic University is the last of five that protesters occupied to use as bases from which to disrupt the city - blocking the busy cross-harbor tunnel and forcing the closure of businesses in a bid to heap economic pressure on the government, amid the movement's calls for an end to Beijing's perceived meddling.

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