Footage has emerged of police in Hong Kong beating up a lone unarmed protestor who was part of the mass rally against a proposed extradition bill.

The video, which surfaced on Twitter, shows around half a dozen officers rushing at the protestor and dragging him to the ground before hitting him with batons.

Police have used tear gas, pepper spray and high-pressure water hoses against thousands of protesters who had blocked entry to the government headquarters, delaying a legislative session on the proposed bill that has become a lightning rod for concerns over greater Chinese control and erosion of civil liberties in the territory.

The overwhelmingly young crowd of demonstrators filled nearby streets, overturned barriers and tussled with police outside the offices where the bill, which would allow criminal suspects in Hong Kong to be sent for trial in mainland China, was due to be discussed.

The reluctance of protesters to be identified by their full names and professions – many wore surgical masks to obscure their facial features – reflects an increasingly hard-line approach to civil unrest by the authorities.

Such actions are never tolerated in mainland China and Hong Kong residents can face travel bans and other repercussions if they cross the border.

Protesters also appear mindful of Beijing’s growing use of electronic surveillance such as facial recognition technology to build dossiers on those it considers politically unreliable.

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