Hong Kong shares fall to 2 1/2 month low after pro-democracy clashes

Hong Kong shares fall to 2 1/2 month low after pro-democracy clashes
People walk along a closed road near the site of a pro-democracy protest near the Hong Kong government headquarters on September 29, 2014.

HONG KONG - Hong Kong shares sank more than 2 per cent to a 2 1/2month low on Monday morning after pro-democracy supporters clashed with police in the worst unrest in the city since China took back control of the former British colony almost two decades ago.

By GMT 0215 (10.15am Singapore time), the benchmark Hong Kong share index was down 2.3 per cent to its lowest since July 11, dragged lower by heavyweight financial and property counters.

A sub-index for property stocks in Hong Kong dived more than 4 per cent, the biggest drop since March 2012. Wharf Holdings, a developer and owner of shopping malls, was leading the losses having fallen nearly 6 per cent.

HSBC Holdings lost 1.5 per cent, insurer AIA Group skidded more than 3 per cent, and Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing slid nearly 4 per cent.

Some banks closed branches and ATMs in some parts of the city, while the central bank said it stood ready to inject liquidity into the banking system "as and when needed".

Riot police advanced on democracy protesters overnight, firing volleys of tear gas after launching a baton-charge, but protesters had gathered again by morning.

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