There were further clashes and street fights in Hong Kong this weekend as protests and political disputes continued – for close to four months now – in the troubled Chinese financial hub.
At noon on Sunday, thousands of people gathered in New Town Plaza and Citylink Plaza in Shatin, singing ‘Glory to Hong Kong’ and chanting slogans against the hated extradition law that the city government tried to bring in, and has since scrapped.
Organizers said the rally was aimed at voicing opposition against Sun Hung Kai Properties for having allowed riot police to enter the shopping center to arrest people after a march in Shatin on July 14.
They said they demonstrated in Citylink Plaza because the mall’s owner – MTR Corp – had helped suppress the public’s freedom of assembly by shutting down stations near some protest sites.
The crowd of people walked around the two shopping centers but refused to buy goods or get any service. They also put up anti-government posters and stickers on shops, whose owners are mainland or pro-Beijing business people.
Shops of mainland Chinese brands such as Huawei, Lenovo, Sunning and Tong Ren Tang closed early. Restaurants under Maxim’s Group, including Starbucks, Simplylife and three Chinese restaurants, were disrupted by the crowd as the group’s owner Annie Wu Suk-ching has been a high-profile supporter of the extradition law.
The crowd also hung paper cranes in the two malls in a bid to promote a multinational “anti-Chinazi” protest on September 29.
At 4pm, someone took down a Chinese national flag from the Shatin Town Hall and brought it to the New Town Plaza. People showed their contempt for Beijing by stepping on it and sprayed black paint on it, before it was thrown in the Shing Mun River.
At 4:30pm, people started vandalising the facilities in the Shatin MTR station. They then defaced facilities in the New Town Plaza.
Individuals had posted calls online for citizens to block traffic between the airport and the city on Sunday. That lead to riot police, water cannon vehicles and armored trucks being deployed at the airport. However, operations were smooth by evening time.
Police intercepted people at Lantau Link Toll Plaza and Hong Kan station on the Airport Express line. There was no large crowd seen near the airport.
On Saturday, the Tuen Mun Park Health Concern Group received approval from police to hold a protest titled “Recover Tuen Mun” from 2pm to 5pm on Saturday. The group complained that some mainland women had returned to sing and dance indecently for tips in the park after the District Council passed a motion early in July to stop them providing entertainment there.
At 2pm, protesters gathered at San Wo Lane Playground. After an hour, they began their march towards the Tuen Mun Government Offices. However, a few minutes after the march kicked off, police warned the organizers that the crowd had spilled over onto roads.
At 4:12pm, riot police arrested about eight volunteer paramedics. The Tuen Mun Park Health Concern Group then ended the protest as police had used force – it asked the marchers to leave. At about 4:41pm, police fired tear gas at people near Tuen Mun Town Hall.
Black-shirt people had a standoff with the police for two hours. They burned debris on roads, threw some petrol bombs, took down a Chinese national flag and burnt it. Riot police fired sponge grenades, plus rubber and pepper-ball bullets.
Police later arrested a 13-year-old girl in Tsuen Wan for allegedly being involved in burning a national-flag in Tuen Mun.
At 5pm, a police officer caught a black-shirt man on Tuen Mun Road. He was pulled down by another man, then attacked by eight men in black with rods and umbrellas. One man tried to take the police officer’s gun but failed. A team of police came to rescue the officer, who subdued a man.
In Yuen Long, hundreds of people held a silent sit-in at Yoho Mall on Saturday, which marked the two-month anniversary of the July 21 attack by white-shirt ‘gangsters’ who indiscriminately beat up people in Yuen Long MTR station.
In the evening, the protest erupted into violent clashes between police and the crowd. Some people burned debris on the roads while riot police fired tear gas.
Between 11pm on Saturday and 1am on Sunday, at least five pro-Beijing men were injured. Two suffered bleeding on their heads after attacking black-shirt people with glass bottles on the streets. One of the injured men said he wanted to sacrifice his life for the 1.4 billion Chinese people.
Another three were beaten up after they allegedly harassed a woman, removed posters from a Lennon Wall and secretly took pictures of others.
Meanwhile, police used pepper spray on the eyes of Mr Chan, 73 and Mr Wong, 85, core members of Protect The Kids, which is a voluntary group to protect young protesters. The two were then released by police.
In Tsung Kwan O, hundreds of people gathered to sing “Glory To Hong Kong” at Popcorn shopping mall. Two men came and attacked several young people. They called the police at 10pm. The police did not arrest the attackers, but a 13-year-old boy and 19-year-old man were nabbed for illegal assembly. The police said the boy held a laser pen and spray paint, which are considered an offensive weapon and a tool for illegal use, respectively.
Later, a crowd gathered in front of Tseung Kwan O police station to call for release of the boy. Police dismissed the crowd with tear gas.