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Hong Kong police fire tear gas at demonstrators

HONG KONG, Aug 14 (Reuters) - Hong Kong police fired tear gas at hundreds of protesters who had gathered outside a police station in the residential area of Sham Shui Po in Kowloon.

Increasingly violent protests have plunged the Asian finance hub into its most serious political crisis in decades, posing a challenge to the central government in Beijing.

Reuters photographers and television journalists at the scene saw police shoot several rounds of tear gas with little warning at demonstrators who had been shining laser beams at the police station and burning joss papers on the roadside.

(Reporting by Tom Westbrook; Editing by Janet Lawrence)