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  1. ITV Report

Hong Kong protesters split into small groups to 'maximise disruption'

Protestors wearing masks in defiance of a recently imposed ban on face coverings sing Credit: AP

Demonstrators in Hong Kong have changed tactics and begun protesting in small groups in multiple locations across the city in a bid to cause maximum disruption.

The guerrilla-like tactics displayed on Sunday sought to maximize the disruption and visibility of protests at a time when anti-government demonstrations have, as a whole, been showing signs of flagging as they enter their fifth month.

Pressure from a government ban on the face masks worn by many protesters and extreme violence earlier this month seem to have whittled down protest numbers.

Calls to protest posted online called for gatherings to start at 2pm in dozens of locations, including parks, malls and sports grounds.

That marked a shift from earlier more concentrated rallies in fewer spots.

An anti government protester is detained by police at Tseun Wan in Hong Kong. Credit: AP

In Hong Kong, protesters speak of being "like water," fluid and adaptable.

"It's a guerilla-kind of demonstration," said Edmund Tang, 59, who slept overnight at a gathering of about 200 people outside police headquarters in central Hong Kong that started on Saturday and was still going strong on Sunday.

He said the week-old ban that makes the wearing of masks at rallies punishable by one year in jail has dissuaded some demonstrators who took part in larger previous rallies.

Protesters are still defying the recently-imposed mask ban. Credit: AP

"It's no longer possible to get 100,000 people to come out," he said.

Protesting in small, diffuse groups will complicate policing efforts, he added.

"Keep the hunt dogs running everywhere, getting crazier and crazier, without catching the prey.

"That's best," he said.

But police adapted, too.

Also fanned out in multiple locations, they quickly made numerous arrests.

Police were on the scene within minutes after black-clad protesters set up a makeshift roadblock in a shopping district of Kowloon, sprinting out of their vans in hot pursuit of suspects.

Protesters get out from a restaurant after vandalizing the same in Hong Kong. Credit: AP

Officers pinned a young man in black to the floor and then carried him away.

A young woman wearing a face mask and seemingly limping was also led away.

Police also sprinted through a shopping centre in another location, riding escalators in pursuit of targets.

One of the largest gatherings brought several hundred people together in a shopping centre in Shatin that has attracted regular gatherings.

The protests gripping the semi-autonomous Chinese territory initially began in response to a now-withdrawn extradition bill that would have allowed criminal suspects to be sent for trial in Communist Party-controlled courts in mainland China.

The protest movement has since ballooned to encompass broader clamours for universal suffrage, an independent inquiry of the policing methods used against protesters and other demands.