See More on Facebook

Current affairs, Politics

Anti-extradition protest in Hong Kong ends peacefully

The protests ended at West Kowloon station that connects city to mainland.


Written by

Updated: July 7, 2019

An anti-extradition protest march on Sunday (July 7) ended peacefully at West Kowloon station, after thousands of protesters set off from Salisbury Garden and marched through the busy Tsim Sha Tsui area in an attempt to take their message directly to visitors from mainland China.

The protesters were orderly and the mood was calm as the march began. Unlike previous demonstrations, where the dissatisfaction had been aimed at the Hong Kong government, Sunday’s protest march set its sights on the mainland and mainland Chinese visitors.

The protest’s organisers said 230,000 people took part, while the police said there were 56,000 people at the peak of the protest.

The march began at Salisbury Garden at about 3.40pm, with protesters marching through Tsim Sha Tsui – Hong Kong’s busy tourist district – towards the West Kowloon station, where high-speed trains from the mainland stop.

Police had put West Kowloon station on lockdown, with water-filled barriers about 2m high set up around it.

Outside the station, organisers unfurled a banner with their demands as more protesters arrived. The demands are: fully scrap the extradition Bill, remove the label of June 12 protests as a “riot”, investigate allegations of police abuse, release protesters who were arrested, and for universal suffrage to be rolled out by next year.

Protesters also chanted, “there are no violent people, only a tyranny”, as well as called for Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam to step down.

Pro-democracy activist Ventus Lau, who had applied for the permit for Sunday’s protest march, told The Straits Times that he does not expect the government to answer protesters’ demands.

“What we want to do is show mainland visitors that protests in Hong Kong are peaceful and graceful,” he said.

Mr Lau, one of the protest organisers, said there were no plans to enter West Kowloon station. “It is hoped that Hong Kong people can spread how Hong Kong people can march peacefully and bring the protest information back to the mainland to mainland visitors,” he told Reuters.

Organisers of the march told the protesters to disperse after they reached West Kowloon station.

PUSH TO BE HEARD

Among those who turned up for the protest march on Sunday were young people and families, despite the rain and gloomy weather. People gave out bottles of water as well as flyers with tips on maintaining mental wellness to the protesters.

Engineer Yang Man Kit, 32, hobbled in with a bandaged knee and a crutch. “I had surgery on my ACL two weeks ago. But I feel it’s important to come and show my support,” he told ST. ACL stands for anterior cruciate ligament, a key ligament that helps stabilise the knee joint.

Another protester, contractor Chan Fui Ming, 29, who attended the march with friends, said: “Our spirits are a bit low because the government has not been responding to our requests, but I think it’s important to come out and show our support.”

Demonstrators have said that they wanted to show mainland China and its people how dissatisfied they are with the Bill, and have chosen to end the march at the West Kowloon station where mainland tourists board trains to return home.

The Hong Kong protests have received little coverage in mainland China, where censors blocked most news related to the demonstrations. In its limited coverage, mainland media portrayed the Hong Kong protests as a primarily violent, foreign-funded plot to destabilise the motherland.

Mr Wang Chen, 29, a PhD student from Beijing studying at Hong Kong Baptist University, said watching the protest unfold drove home the point that such movements fragment society.

“While it’s normal to have political demands of the government, and I can understand why Hong Kongers are acting like this, but at the same time, it is also making their society very divided,” he told ST.

A Chinese visitor from Shenzhen, who gave his name as Mr Li, told Hong Kong’s TVB news channel that the protest march did not mean much to him, as he was just a tourist.

Another visitor, a Ms Han from the Chinese province of Fujian, told the channel: “I can empathise (with the protesters). After all, everyone has different thinking or different political viewpoint.”

Earlier, some travel agencies said that they would keep tour groups away from the Tsim Sha Tsui area – popular with mainland tourists – on Sunday afternoon, local radio station RTHK reported, quoting the Tourism Association.

Although organisers had called for the protests to be “peaceful, rational and graceful”, there were concerns that things could get ugly.

PROTEST TURNED UGLY

On July 1, young protesters stormed the city’s Legislative Council (LegCo) complex, breaking display screens and spraying graffiti on the walls.

The city has seen demonstrations over the Bill since June 6, when the city’s lawyers marched in a silent protest. Mass demonstrations began on June 9, when hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets to express their unhappiness.

The Bill, mooted in February, was intended to allow Hong Kong to send suspects to jurisdictions it does not have extradition agreements with, including mainland China. But those opposing the Bill are concerned that the opaque Chinese legal system could mean people in Hong Kong could be targeted under the Bill without receiving a fair trial or human rights protection.

In a huge climbdown, the Hong Kong government suspended the Bill on June 15, but protesters want it to be dumped entirely.

On Saturday, protesters also scuffled with police at a park in Hong Kong’s Tuen Mun area, near the border with mainland China, targeting so-called “dancing aunties”, or “damas” from the mainland, who blast music through loudspeakers in parks and dance provocatively to solicit cash donations.

Nearly 2,000 people had rallied at the park, and protesters said police used pepper spray briefly to control the crowd.

POLICE ADVISORY

On Sunday morning, Hong Kong police issued a public appeal urging protesters to express their views in a peaceful and rational manner.

“Members of the public should comply with the laws of Hong Kong and maintain social order when expressing their views,” the police said in a statement.

“Should there be any confrontation, they should protect their own safety, maintain a safe distance from the violent protesters or leave the scene immediately so as to give police enough space to deal with any violent and unlawful acts,” the statement added.

Sunday’s march was approved with several conditions, with police saying that any item that can be used as a weapon was not to be brought along, among other things.

RTHK reported earlier on Sunday that more than 1,000 police officers would be on standby.

The transport department also closed some roads temporarily, and public transport services were diverted.

Meanwhile, all entrances to West Kowloon station were closed on Sunday, except for a designated entrance and exit for passengers. In addition, only people with valid tickets and travel documents were allowed to enter the station, according to Hong Kong’s mass transit railway operator MTR Corporation. Vehicular access to the station was also banned.



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


About the Author: The Straits Times is Singapore's top-selling newspaper.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Current affairs, Politics

Indonesia slams Singapore for withholding information on nationals treated for COVID-19

Indonesia complains on Singapore insisting to withhold personal information of its citizens showing COVID-19 symptoms in Jakarta. The Indonesian government has complained that Singapore insists on withholding the personal information of several Indonesian citizens believed to have shown COVID-19 symptoms in Jakarta and tested positive for the lethal virus in the city-state. Jakarta said it was facing difficulties in tracing and isolating those who might have had contact with the patients, now being treated at Singaporean hospitals. “We have asked for the identities of the Indonesian nationals from Singapore. They did not give us the names. How are we going to conduct the tracing in Indonesia? Singapore is adamant on not disclosing their identities,”


By The Jakarta Post
March 13, 2020

Current affairs, Politics

Seoul stocks sink, trigger first circuit breaker for 5 min in 8 years 

The Kospi plummeted more than 5 per cent during Thursday trading, which triggered the stock exchange to temporarily halt trading on Korea’s main bourse, as investor sentiments weighed on the coronavirus pandemic. The Korea Exchange activated a “sidecar,” meaning it temporarily halted the trading of shares, for five minutes around 1:04 p.m. after Kospi 200 index futures slipped over 5 percent. It was the first time the sidecar had been activated for the Kospi since Oct. 4, 2011, when Greece defaulted on its debts. “The temporarily halt trading was due to the plunging of the Kospi 200 index futures. They plummeted from 256.90 points to 243.90 points — down 13 points, or 5.06 percent at that time for over a minute,” a KRX official said. The s


By Asia News Network
March 12, 2020

Current affairs, Politics

Final temporary hospital in Wuhan closes its doors

A total of 15 such hospitals, converted from exhibition halls, sports stadiums and warehouses, received more than 12,000 patients. All the 15 temporary hospitals built to exclusively receive novel coronavirus patients in Wuhan, Hubei province, have been closed, with the daily number of reported new cases hitting a record low. Wuchang Temporary Hospital, which was converted from a sports stadium, closed on Tuesday afternoon after its final 49 patients were discharged, making it the last of the temporary hospitals in Wuhan, the centre of the epidemic in China, to close its doors. The hospital, which was converted within two days, received a total of 1,124 patients with mild symptoms of COVID-19 in the 35 days of its operation. No patients died in the hosp


By China Daily
March 11, 2020

Current affairs, Politics

Social media curbs removed in Jammu and Kashmir after seven months

 Jammu and Kashmir administration removes restrictions on social media use across Union Territory almost seven months after a communication clampdown since the Centre’s announcement to scrap the special status of the erstwhile state under Article 370 and its bifurcation into two Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh. The Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) administration on Wednesday removed restrictions from social media usage across the Union Territory almost seven months after a communication clampdown on the eve of the Centre’s August 5 announcement to scrap the special status of the erstwhile state under Article 370 and its bifurcation. The directions came after a review of the situation by the J&K Home department. The order, issued without the


By The Island
March 10, 2020

Current affairs, Politics

15 Korean pharmas, 4 state institutes research coronavirus

South Korea’s state-run research institutes and pharmaceutical firms are working hard to find a cure for the new coronavirus. South Korea’s state-run research institutes and pharmaceutical firms are working hard to find a cure for the new coronavirus, according to news reports Monday. Around 15 firms and four institutes here are burning the midnight oil to get an effective cure, according to Korea Pharmaceutical and Bio-Pharma Manufacturers Association. KPBMA Chairman Won Hee-mok emphasized the synergies between private and public research bodies in yielding a faster outcome. The association identified Korean companies working on vaccines — including SK Bioscience, GC Pharma, Boryung Biopharma, Sumagen and G+FLAS Life Sciences. T


By Asia News Network
March 9, 2020

Current affairs, Politics

‘Incredible India’ now being viewed as intolerant India, says FM Qureshi

 “Modi’s policies are taking a bloody and dangerous turn,” says the foreign minister. Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Thursday stated that ‘Incredible India’ is now being viewed as “intolerant India”, and ‘Shining India’ as “burning India”, adding that the country is now facing international scrutiny like never before. The foreign minister expressed these views while speaking at a seminar, organised by the Centre for Aerospace and Security Studies, in Islamabad. During his address, Qureshi stated: “Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s policies are taking a bloody and dangerous turn, as predicted by Prime Minister Imran Khan.” Referring to the country


By Asia News Network
March 6, 2020