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Thursday, October 9, 2014, 17:45

Police vow to take action on road blockers

By Kahon Chan / Timothy Chui /
 Police vow to take action on road blockers

Protesters sleep on a main road in the occupied areas outside government headquarters in Hong Kong's Admiralty, Oct 9, 2014. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

HONG KONG - The police, for the first time, made clear that they will collect evidence for an investigation and take action "when appropriate" against the unlawful blockades of thoroughfares in Hong Kong.

Police spokesperson Steve Hui, at a Thursday press conference on the "Occupy Central" rallies, cited the statement issued by the Hong Kong Bar Association and urged protesters to reopen at least some roads at Admiralty and other parts of Hong Kong.

On Thursday, the protest initiators have yet to agree on reopening the Queensway at Admiralty and a few protesters were still determined to control passage of vehicles at their own hands unless the government bows to their demands.

Hui said the police regrets these protesters, being extremely irresponsible, have refused to listen to others' advice "at the expense of the rights of other members of the public to carry on with their normal daily lives".

He was also wary of signs that protesters in Mong Kok, who have been sleeping on mattresses laid on the streets, are ready for long haul.

In view that the current occupation of roads is unlawful, Hui said the police is duty-bound to collect evidence, launch a probe and take action at suitable time for the offense. He urged protesters to withdraw from all locations or at least, shrink the occupation area.

Minibus and taxi unions, on Thursday, protested against the blockades at Causeway Bay and Admiralty respectively. There were also assemblies in support of the law enforcement and press conferences complaining on the impact on local businesses.

Hui, at the press conference, thanked social elites, community leaders and other members of the public for the morale boost. He reassured law enforcement action will be taken impartially and the law is equal before all citizens.

 Police vow to take action on road blockers
Drivers shout slogans during a protest in Shau Kei Wan on Oct 9, 2014. About 20 minibus drivers have joined a slow-drive protest to condenm the "Occupy Central" movement that disrupted traffic and affected their livelihoods. (Roy Liu / China Daily)

Meanwhile, traffic conditions improved on Thursday morning though the barricades were hardly cleared over the past day. The traffic queues on various trunk roads extended for about 13 kilometers at their peak, considerably shorter than 20 kilometers saw one day earlier.

Travel times were more than doubled for kindergarten students returning to schools after classes were suspended for more than a week due to protestor blocked roads.

School bus drivers reported heavy east-west bound traffic with areas around the Macau Ferry Terminal and Causeway Bay most heavily affected.

Such are the delays that school principals are advising parents to ensure young children still undergoing potty training are given sufficient diapers for the extended waits.

Blocked roads have also raised hackles among logistics workers, frustrating drivers and riders alike.

About 20 minibus drivers took part in a  slow drive from Shau Kei Wan and Causeway Bay to protest the occupation protestors, with some drivers complaining their earnings were down 70 percent since the start of the demonstrations.

Protest leaders have admitted that they are split on whether to scale back their blockade, as there are hardliners feeling that they cannot spare the public from the annoyance unless the government makes a concession.

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