Hong Kong police arrest five after new night of clashes

Five people were arrested during overnight clashes in Hong Kong between riot officers and anti-government protesters, police said on Monday, as the political violence rocking the international hub shows no sign of abating.

The city has been plunged into its worst crisis in recent history following a month of huge marches as well as separate violent confrontations with police involving a minority of hardcore protesters.

The rallies were sparked by a now-suspended law that would have allowed extraditions to mainland China, but have since morphed into a wider movement calling for democratic reforms and a halt to sliding freedoms in the semi-autonomous territory.

Sunday night saw fresh political violence break out in the district of Mongkok as police baton-charged small groups of masked, largely young protesters who were walking along roads and refused to disperse following another massive, peaceful rally earlier in the day.

In a statement issued early on Monday morning, police said the group were taking part in an "unlawful assembly" and had been warned that officers would take action.

"Some protesters resisted and police arrested five persons for assaulting a police officer and obstructing a police officer in the execution of duties," the statement said.

(with news agency inputs)