Images appear to show Chinese armored personnel carriers gathered near Hong Kong protesters

Images appear to show Chinese armored personnel carriers gathered near Hong Kong protesters
© ANTHONY WALLACE/AFP/Getty Images

China's army has moved a group of armored personnel carriers near the border with Hong Kong as the mainland government seeks to quell weeks of sometimes-violent protests that have swept the city.

The Associated Press reported Wednesday that images appeared to show a group of personnel carriers headed to the region Monday, apparently to take part in exercises meant to show the military's capability of shutting down the protests.

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The city's assistant police commissioner reportedly confirmed that five people were arrested overnight for protesting in Hong Kong's airport, where demonstrators have focused their efforts in recent days as a way to raise awareness among foreign visitors.

“Hong Kong police have always facilitated peaceful and orderly protests over the years, but the extremely radical and violent acts have certainly crossed the line and are to be most severely condemned,” a police official said, according to the AP. “The police pledge to all citizens of Hong Kong that we will take steps to bring all culprits to justice.”

News of China moving troops to the border with Hong Kong broke earlier this week and prompted a remark on the situation from President TrumpDonald John TrumpFacebook releases audit on conservative bias claims Harry Reid: 'Decriminalizing border crossings is not something that should be at the top of the list' Recessions happen when presidents overlook key problems MORE, who stopped short of warning Chinese forces not to crack down on the protesters, drawing criticism from Democrats.

"The Hong Kong thing is a very tough situation, very tough," Trump said Tuesday. "We’ll see what happens, but I’m sure it’ll work out. I hope it works out for everybody — including China, by the way. I hope it works out for everybody."

China's liaison office in Hong Kong, meanwhile, warned of severe repercussions for protesters who break the law in a statement, according to the AP.

“Their behavior shows extreme contempt for the law, seriously damages Hong Kong’s international image and deeply hurts the feelings of the broad masses of their mainland compatriots,” the statement said.

The city has been hit by protests for months initially over a proposed bill that would have allowed criminal suspects to be extradited to China. Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam suspended the bill, but that has failed to stem the protests, with many locals expressing fear it could be revived and expand China's control over the city.