Hong Kong university siege ends as final student found on a sofa amid destruction of ransacked campus

The last students appeared to have finally vacated one of Hong Kong’s top universities yesterday, marking the possible end to of the most violent occupations since demonstrations began.

After staff began picking through the chaotic aftermath, Dr Miranda Lou, executive vice president of Polytechnic University, said that no protesters were found.

"We hope we can re-open the school soon to start our work of restoration and reduce the impact on our students and our scientific projects,” said Ms Lou.

Police were on Wednesday night readying to enter the campus on Thursday morning to look for any dangerous materials.

"Our ultimate goal is to restore the safety of the campus, and to reopen the campus as soon as possible," Police chief superintendent Ricky Ho said.

The siege, which has been going on for nearly two weeks, saw anti-government protesters barricade themselves in at Polytechnic University – turning the campus into a fortress. The stand-off saw running battles and violent clashes involving bow and arrows, molotov cocktails and tear gas.

On Wednesday morning, a search party of 100 members including the university vice presidents, faculty deans, staff, medical assistants and social workers, entered the campus.

On Tuesday inside the campus scattered with rubbish, rotting food and chemicals, they found one 18-year-old student lying beside a sofa suffering from "physical and mental" issues.

Alexander Wai, vice-president of Polytechnic University, described the health of the woman as "okay but a bit touchy", after a Red Cross first aid team gave her medical care on Tuesday. 

Lam Tai-fai, the chairman of the university’s council, urged police to re-open the campus as soon as possible. In a radio interview he added that only 40 of some 1,100 people caught by police as they fled the university were students there. 

The police force said that 300 of those who left were under 18. Most of the protesters were arrested. Some were sent directly to hospital with their personal details recorded by the police. 

Reporters at the site on Wednesday found a battleground covered in debris, barricades and the shattered bottles of Molotov cocktails.

A foul odour from rotting food in a canteen and overflowing garbage bins permeates parts of the campus, and defiant graffiti has been scrawled everywhere.

A major concern for university authorities is widespread vandalism to PolyU’s laboratories, with potentially chemicals now missing.

Hong Kongers have protested in huge numbers over the last six months fuelled by years of growing fears that authoritarian China is stamping out the city’s liberties.

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