All Hong Kong rail services suspended as protests erupt

Hong Kong's mass transit rail system has been suspended after a night of violent unrest, with protesters wearing face masks in defiance of a ban newly introduced by the government.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam said she invoked the new restriction under the Emergency Regulations Ordinances, a colonial-era plan that allows her to circumvent the law and legislature and enforce any regulations during a time of emergency or public danger.

Thousands of angry demonstrators filled the streets in the central business district on Friday evening shouting "Hong Kong, resist."

The ban applies to all public areas where protesters might gather. The prohibition means the wearing of full or partial face coverings, including face paint, at public gatherings is punishable by one year in jail.

Nevertheless, protesters continued to vandalize subway stations, start fires and smash the windows of pro-China businesses as clashes erupted throughout Friday evening. Police used tear gas to quell demonstrators.

"The government doesn't listen to us. So we are upping our game," 32-year-old protester Nathalie told the Agence France-Presse as demonstrators began to trash the MTR transit station in the previously calm neighborhood of Tseung Kwan O.

In the northern district of Yuen Long, a police officer opened fire when he was surrounded in his car and attacked by locals. A petrol bomb exploded at the officer's feet.

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"A large group of rioters attacked a plainclothes police officer in Yuen Long district. The police officer fell onto the ground and was beaten up by the group. Facing serious threat to his life, he fired one shot in self-defense," police said in a statement.

Teenager shot, train lines remain closed

Also in Yuen Long, a teenage boy was shot and wounded, the South China Morning Post reported, citing a medical source.

The territory's entire subway network was suspended on Friday night. By Saturday morning, train services were also closed, including the airport line, with the rail operator saying it would analyze the damage caused to stations before deciding when to reopen.

jsi/cmk (AFP, AP)

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