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Eight arrested for suspected Hong Kong police data breaches

Large crowd seen during the rally to support the police

He did not offer further details.

Riot police in helmets and carrying batons earlier fired pepper spray as the standoff continued into the sweltering heat of the evening.

Protesters smash glass doors and windows of the Legislative Council Complex on July 1, 2019 in Hong Kong, China.

"The police strongly condemn criminal acts online".

At nearly every turn, slogans had been spray-painted on the walls in Chinese and English.

A protester who gave only his first name, Jack, said "the rule of law is the last firewall between us and the Chinese Communist Party". Parts of wooden picture frames were all that remained of portraits of legislative leaders that hung on the wall.

Authorities are analysing DNA samples and fingerprints to identify suspects and are planning raids to arrest them "in the near future", the South China Morning Post reported, citing an unnamed Hong Kong law enforcement source.

Chris Patten, who served as Hong Kong's final governor while it was a British colony, says the United Kingdom must take a "much firmer line" against China amid fears it is increasing its influence in Hong Kong.

Combative protesters are staging a protest outside the Hong Kong legislature as a crowd of thousands prepares to start a march in that direction. Steve Vickers, a former head of criminal intelligence for the Royal Hong Kong Police, predicted a severe government crackdown that will result in long jail terms.

A tired-looking Lam appeared in public for the first time in almost two weeks, flanked by her husband and former Hong Kong leader Tung Chee-hwa. "Their actions are counterproductive to many Hong Kong peoples' genuine democratic aspirations".

Lam said that the young protesters, who have blocked streets, police headquarters and other government buildings in a series of protests over the past three weeks, have sacrificed enough.

Also Wednesday, police said eight people had been arrested for posting personal data about police officers on the internet as massive protests against the government and police were held in recent weeks.

Protesters have called on Lam to withdraw the bill, and to drop "rioting" charges laid against protesters after clashes with police on June 12 - and resign.

Those arrested on Tuesday night include six men and two women aged between 16 and 40.

"In a short time police will go to the LegCo area to clear it". But this year, the protests have turned bitter and violent.

The extradition bill controversy has given fresh momentum to Hong Kong's pro-democracy opposition movement, awakening broader concerns that China is chipping away at the rights guaranteed to Hong Kong for 50 years under a "one country, two systems" framework.

Tens of thousands marched in temperatures of about 33 C from Victoria Park in an annual rally.

Hong Kong's Beijing-backed leader Carrie Lam had strongly promoted the bill, but suspended it on June 15 in the face of public protests against it. Critics have called on her to officially kill the bill, but she has resisted.

"Under the changes of a global economy and intensifying worldwide competition, Hong Kong is already under great challenge and can not bear turbulence and internal friction".

In Beijing, the Chinese government lashed back at remarks by British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt on the causes of the anti-government protests in Hong Kong.

A Chinese foreign ministry spokesman said Hunt, who is battling ex-London mayor Boris Johnson to succeed May as British leader later this month - was "fantasising in the faded glory of British colonialism".

The anger spilled over on Monday as groups of mostly young, hardline protesters stormed Hong Kong's Legislative Council, spraying graffiti on the walls of its main chamber and defacing the city's seal before police regained control of the building. The proposed legislation, on which debate has been suspended indefinitely, increased fears of eroding freedoms in the territory, which Britain returned to China on July 1, 1997.

"The UK considers itself as a guardian which is nothing but a delusion", Geng said.

"It´s vital that Hong Kong´s high degree of autonomy and the rights and freedoms set down in the Sino-British joint declaration are respected", she added.

Lam, the pro-democracy lawmaker, said the protesters felt hopeless and powerless and wanted to make noise to show the government and the outside world that they would not give up: "That was their choice, even if I don't agree with them, even if they understand the tactic may not work, they still wanted to try to show their anger and frustration to the government and the worldwide community".