November 20, 2019 / 1:29 PM / 19 days ago

HIGHLIGHTS-Protesters in a Hong Kong university search for escape route

(Updates timeline)

HONG KONG, Nov 20 (Reuters) - The last band of anti-government protesters trapped inside a besieged Hong Kong university were weighing a narrowing range of options on Wednesday as police outside appeared ready to simply wait them out.

Following is the latest news from the protests:

— 11.18 p.m. (1518 GMT): Chief Executive Carrie Lam, on Facebook, urges minors to leave the campus immediately to meet their waiting parents.

— 0.30 a.m. (1630 GMT): The government says about 800 people had left the campus of Hong Kong Polytechnic University in a peaceful manner as of 11 p.m. on Tuesday, of which 300 are under 18 years old.

— 3.12 a.m. (1912 GMT): The UN human rights office calls on Hong Kong authorities to do all they can to de-escalate a standoff between police and anti-government protesters holed up in Polytechnic University, broadcaster RTHK reports.

— 6.14 a.m. (2230 GMT): The Transport Department says Cross-Harbour Tunnel cannot be reopened quickly while the East Rail Line will be in service between Mong Kok East and Lo Wu/Lok Ma Chau stations at the border.

— 7.01 a.m. (2301 GMT): The U.S. Senate, in a unanimous vote, passes legislation aimed at protecting human rights in Hong Kong.

— 9.21 a.m. (0121 GMT): China’s foreign ministry condemns U.S. Senate measure on Hong Kong, vowing to take steps necessary to safeguard its sovereignty and security.

— 9.33 a.m. (0133 GMT): Hong Kong government expresses deep regret over passage of the “Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act” and another act on Hong Kong by the U.S. Senate, saying the acts are unnecessary and unwarranted.

— 10.36 a.m. (0236 GMT): Hong Kong’s Secretary for Security John Lee says 730 people were arrested on Tuesday, and nearly 900 people surrendered to the police, including 300 who are under 18. Lee says the government aims to resolve the situation in a peaceful and orderly manner.

— 11.00 a.m. (0300 GMT) Primary and secondary schools opened after a week of class suspensions. Public broadcaster RTHK said there was an armed police presence in some key areas due to reports of minor protests.

— 01.00 p.m. (0500 GMT) Hundreds of office workers rallied in the Central business district during their lunch break, the latest in more than a week of demonstrations in the heart of the city, home to some of the world’s most expensive real estate. The protests were largely peaceful with riot police containing the crowds which have thinned over the past 8 days.

— 03.54 p.m. (0754 GMT) Some anti-government protesters trapped inside a Hong Kong university tried to flee through the sewers, where one student said she saw snakes, an escape route firemen ruled out on Wednesday by blocking the main campus trapdoor into the system.

— 04.00 p.m. (0800 GMT) British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab condemned China’s treatment of a former employee of Britain’s Hong Kong consulate who said Chinese secret police beat him as they sought information about pro-democracy protests in the former British colony.

— 03:44 pm (0744 GMT) Sophia Chan, the city’s Health Secretary, told lawmakers that police wanted to keep secret the manufacturing details and chemical composition of tear gas used at protests for operational reasons.

— 04:17 pm (0817 GMT) Polytechnic University President Teng Jin-Guang told media that he or one of his staff would meet the remaining protesters outside the campus and escort them to the police station to make sure their case is handled fairly.

— 04:59 pm (0859 GMT) Edward Yau, the city’s Commerce and Economic Development secretary, said the protests had affected Hong Kong’s international image and caused many to raise concerns regarding their personal safety.

— 07:06 pm (1106 GMT) Carrie Lam said on her facebook page that she had met heads of special departments to require everyone to double their efforts to restore social order. She also met senior officials to clarify rumours and explain the latest situation to the outside world.

— 08:38 pm (1238 GMT) Hong Kong’s justice secretary said she had no opinion on an accusation of torture made against China by a Hong Kong citizen who worked at the British consulate in the city.

— 08:50 pm (1250 GMT) At least 10 demonstrators have left Polytechnic University’s campus, RTHK reported. Seven of them were accompanied by university staff to board an ambulance and some were covered in tin foil to keep them warm. (Reporting by Donny Kwok and Farah Master Editing by Robert Birsel, Kim Coghill and Giles Elgood)

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