Eight triad gangsters have been arrested after allegedly attacking pro-democracy demonstrators in Hong Kong.
Police announced today that they had arrested 19 people after bloody clashes between groups of supporters yesterday, of whom a number belonged to the notorious organised crime gang.
There have been fresh clashes today, and protesters have accused the police of being complicit in the violence.
Protesters faced off in Mong Kok, an area with a known gang presence, with the Guardian reporting no uniformed police in sight to control the unrest.
Students involved in the protest walked out of talks with the government on Friday, claiming that police had stood by while state-hired thugs attacked them as part of a deliberate plan to undermine the protests and intimidate the protesters.
"The government and police turned a blind eye to violent acts by the triads targeting peaceful Occupy protesters," said the Hong Kong Federation of Students, referring to Occupy Central, another prominent group.
The deputy chairman of Hong Kong's legislative council's security panel has accused the region's government of working with criminal gangs to disrupt the protests.
"The [Hong Kong] government has used organised, orchestrated forces and even triad gangs in [an] attempt to disperse citizens," James To told the South China Morning Post.
Police denied being in league with the triads, and said that six officers had been injured in the clashes.
The demonstrators are demanding that Beijing back down in its decision to vet candidates for elections in the semi-autonomous region.
Hong Kong's leader Cy Leung today that police will take "all actions necessary" to allow schools and government actions re-open after a week of protests.