STUDENTS from the University of Southampton who have been caught up in escalating violent protests whilst studying in Hong Kong are being flown back to the UK.

The university is now "proactively working" to bring their students back home following ongoing protests in the China region were triggered earlier this year, which were caused by the introduction of the Fugitive Offenders amendment bill by the Hong Kong government.

These protests include violent clashes at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), where several students have flown to study as part of a placement, exchange or study abroad programme.

Clashes took place at CHUK on Tuesday night, which saw police fire tear gas and rubber bullets at masked protesters, who responded by starting fires and throwing petrol bombs.

There are many fears that the new bill will erode freedom, as the new amendment would allow outside investigators to request assistance from Hong Kong for criminal cases including search and seizure, and confiscation and restraint orders.

It would also enable suspected offenders to be sent to places where the territory has no formal extradition agreement.

As a result of the protests, all schools have been closed by the region's education bureau.

In response, University of Southampton said they will cover the cost of returning students and that they are committed to ensuring their "safety and well-being".

A spokesperson for University of Southampton said: "In light of the closure of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong University and Lingnan University, and the ongoing risk posed by action in the region, we are now proactively working to repatriate all of our students currently in Hong Kong on placements, exchange or study abroad programmes.

"We are committed to ensuring the safety and well-being of our students and will cover the costs of their return to the UK. We will also work with colleagues to ensure that no student suffers academic detriment as a result of this action."

Other universities in the UK are also repatriating students from Hong Kong study programmes, including Edinburgh University, University of Manchester, University of York and University of Bristol.