Mr. Kwok said that 1,458 rounds of tear gas and 1,391 rubber bullets were fired on Monday, putting a figure to the dizzying display of smoke and gunfire witnessed on the second day of the siege.
At the Chinese University of Hong Kong, which was the site of clashes with the police last week, more than 3,900 Molotov cocktails were seized on Monday, representing the most found in a single location, he said.
He called the prestigious university a “manufacturing base” for fire bombs.
A number of protesters who had left PolyU on Tuesday, including several wrapped in emergency Mylar blankets, waited to be taken to a hospital. Some appeared to be suffering from effects of hypothermia after being struck by a police water cannon.
Beijing says it alone can interpret Hong Kong’s laws.
In Beijing, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress took the unusual step of criticizing a Hong Kong court’s ruling that struck down a contentious ban on the wearing of face masks in public, effectively saying that the central government alone has the authority to rule on constitutional issues in the territory.
The Hong Kong High Court found that the ban, enacted in October, violated the territory’s mini-constitution, known as the Basic Law. In a statement released on Tuesday, a spokesman for the standing committee warned that the ruling “seriously weakened the lawful governing power” of the Hong Kong government.
The National People’s Congress, the country’s top legislative body, has the authority to interpret legal matters involving national issues — and to change the Basic Law itself. The timing of the ruling raised new fears of Beijing’s efforts to erode the territory’s autonomy.
“When the state loses, she changes the rules of game,” Joshua Wong, a prominent opposition leader, wrote on Twitter. “Beijing never intends to play by the rules.”