Dutch students urged to leave Hong Kong

Major Dutch universities on Friday advised their students in Hong Kong to return home rapidly for security reasons with increasingly violent unrest engulfing the Chinese territory.

Leading colleges in Utrecht, Amsterdam, Leiden, Delft, Rotterdam and elsewhere are actively seeking to repatriate almost 300 Dutch nationals studying in Kong Kong.

"The situation is worrying, it has degenerated and is unpredictable," University of Amsterdam spokeswoman Annelies van Dijk told AFP.

"The clashes are getting close to campuses. Students no longer feel safe there and their families are worried, " she added.

Hong Kong has seen relentless protests since June as many in the city of 7.5 million people have vented fury at eroding freedoms under Chinese rule.

Black-clad protesters have occupied university campuses and firefighters battled to quell flames from a car set ablaze near the Chinese University of Hong Kong on Friday.

The University of Amsterdam is prepared to pay for flights home for its 40 students in Hong Kong, according to Van Dijk.

Students from mainland China began leaving Hong Kong campuses on Wednesday as the scenes of violence ratcheted up.

More than 280 Dutch students are currently enrolled in Hong Kong education establishments, according to public broadcaster NOS.

Erasmus university in Rotterdam advised its 74 students in Hong Kong to leave, saying in a statement it "is actively supporting the students concerned to organise a swift departure,"

Last week Alex Chow became the first Hong Kong student to die in the five months of protests.

Chow, 22, died from head injuries sustained during a fall as police skirmished with demonstrators inside a car park.