See More on Facebook

Current affairs, Politics

Protesters disperse after mobbing Hong Kong malls

The Chinese flag was torn down in Hong Kong over the weekend.

Written by

Updated: September 23, 2019

Most protesters have departed the sites of rallies at malls in Hong Kong’s Kowloon and New Territories districts on Sunday (Sept 22), after an afternoon that saw some people vandalise a train station before clashing with riot police in Sha Tin.

A small group reassembled outside the Mong Kok Police Station, the site of multiple standoffs between police and protesters in recent weeks, where they trained laser pointers at officers standing guard, while chanting anti-police slurs. Some started a large trash fire on the road which was quickly put out by firefighters.

Passing motorists have sounded their horns in solidarity, some shouting “ga yau”, or “come in” in Cantonese. Officers responded to protesters with pepper spray and at least two beanbag rounds, while nearby metro stations Mong Kok and Prince Edward, have been shut because of the gathering.

Riot police earlier fired multiple rounds of tear gas in Sha Tin, in New Territories, on Sunday afternoon to disperse radical protesters.

The protesters had set fire to barricades they built on the road outside New Town Plaza mall, which police said was endangering the safety of the public and affecting traffic in the area.

Protesters responded to the tear gas by throwing bricks and a petrol bomb at the police, Hong Kong broadcaster RTHK reported.

The protesters had taken to the streets following a protest inside New Town Plaza mall earlier in the day.

They set fire to barricades made of metal railings and other objects on Yuen Wo Road, TV footage from Apple Daily showed. Riot police then charged at the protesters to disperse them.

Police then hoisted a black flag to warn of the use of tear gas. A statement released by the police also warned all protestors to stop illegal acts and leave immediately.

The New Town Plaza shopping centre in Sha Tin was earlier vandalised, with protesters spraying water as well as pouring oil and liquid soap onto the floor of the mall, according to TVB footage. A camera from the broadcaster, Hong Kong’s largest, had its lens sprayed with black paint during a live broadcast.

Two subway stations were closed after facilities within the premises were vandalised.

Services on Tsing Yi MTR station on the Tung Chung Line were suspended and passengers were asked to leave the station immediately. Earlier, protesters had sprayed an unspecified liquid at the entrances. Riot police were seen inside the station, according to footage from Apple Daily.

Sha Tin MTR station in the New Territories was also shut, after facilities such as ticketing machines, entrance barriers and CCTV cameras there were vandalised.

Earlier in the day, hundreds of people, young and old, gathered in New Town Plaza to protest after the night of clashes between police and radical demonstrators.

The mostly black-clad protesters chanted slogans, including “Hong Kong people, keep it up”, “Fight for freedom”, and “Liberate Hong Kong”. They also sang the new Hong Kong “anthem”, Glory To Hong Kong.

Families were making origami paper birds with slogans and pinning them on frames. One slogan written on the birds and common throughout the protests is “Five demands, not one less”.

Protesters also targeted shops and businesses from mainland China in the mall, RTHK reported. These shops, including Chinese tech giant Huawei and a mainland tea shop chain, quickly pulled down their shutters.

The new tactic from demonstrators showed a simmering anger toward the city’s business elites, a relatively small group of tycoons and cronies who have accumulated enormous wealth and political clout, often through cosy relationships with the mainland.

While the contentious extradition Bill that sparked the ongoing political crisis was withdrawn earlier this month, Sunday’s demonstrations again illustrated that the deep unhappiness within the city goes far beyond a single piece of legislation and will not be easily – or quickly – resolved.

“We have to try to paralyse it (the mall), then the government will have a loss of revenue and they will listen to us.” said Kenneth, 24, an actuary, who gathered with hundreds of others at the New Town Plaza shopping mall in the Sha Tin district.

Protesters there targeted Chinese linked businesses like Maxim’s Jade Garden restaurant, flooding the automated reservation system with requests and taping together the receipts into an ad hoc protest banner.

Maxim’s Caterers Limited, which operates the restaurant, is a major food and beverage conglomerate that operates numerous bakeries and restaurants across Hong Kong, notably the Seattle-based coffee chain Starbucks. The company has recently become a target of protesters.

Their anger stems from Ms Annie Wu, the daughter of the company founder and a staunch supporter of Beijing, who spoke at the United Nations earlier this month in defence of the Hong Kong government.

Her support of the government and police has made her a darling of Chinese-state media.

Tiffany, 25, a kindergarten teacher who took part in Sunday’s demonstration, said Ms Wu was “bending all of the reasons why we come out to the streets. She only sees what the protesters destroy, but she doesn’t see the reasons why.”

Ms Wu spoke at the UN along with Ms Pansy Ho, a billionaire gambling heiress who said she “hijacked the well-intended Bill and used it to spread fear among Hong Kongers”, prompting ridicule from protesters who said that Ms Ho, whose worth Forbes pegs at US$4.3 billion (S$5.92 billion), was grossly disconnected from the general population.

At V Walk, another shopping mall in the Sham Shui Po area of Kowloon, dozens of protesters marched past stores chanting “liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our time”.

The group quickly laid siege to a Best Mart 360 outlet, a convenience store chain whose owner has deep ties to the southeastern Chinese province of Fujian, forcing the shop to shutter and sending protesters into a victorious roar before they quickly moved along.

“We have to fight in different ways. We have used a lot of methods already, occupying shopping malls is a new one,” said one female protester in her thirties who wore a black mask and said she was alerted to the demonstration after seeing posts on Instagram earlier in the day.

A group of protesters trampled on a Chinese national flag – which protesters had taken from outside the nearby Sha Tin Town Hall – to the cheers and applause of other demonstrators and bystanders at the mall, according to footage from Apple Daily.

The protesters then smeared paint on the flag, also known as the “five-starred red flag”, and threw it into the Shing Mun River near the mall.

The protests – in its 16th weekend – escalated in June over a Bill, now withdrawn, that would have allowed suspects to be sent to mainland China for trial.

The four other demands are: an independent inquiry into perceived police brutality, retraction of the word “riot” to describe rallies, release of all detained demonstrators, and the right for Hong Kong people to choose their own leaders.

Earlier in the day, Hong Kong riot police took up position at the main rail station serving the airport on Sunday to prevent a new anti-government protest targeting air travel after a night of widespread violent street clashes in the Chinese-ruled territory.

Anti-government protesters have targeted the airport before, occupying the arrivals hall, blocking approach roads and setting street fires in the nearby town of Tung Chung.

The Airport Express train, which takes passengers under the harbour and across a series of bridges to the airport, built on reclaimed land around an outlying island, will allow passengers to board only in downtown Hong Kong on Sunday, not on the Kowloon peninsula, the Airport Authority said.

The in-town check-in at Kowloon Station has also been suspended for the whole day.

Only people holding tickets would be allowed to enter the airport terminal, it said.

“There are calls online for using fake boarding passes, fake air tickets or fake flight booking information to enter the terminal buildings,” the Airport Authority said in a statement. “The Airport Authority reminds that such behaviour could amount to forgery or using false instrument.”

One man, a 73-year-old retiree from Canada travelling to Hong Kong, said he had no problem with the protests if they were “legal and peaceful”.

“They are just trying to voice their demands. As a civilised resident I think these demands are legitimate,” the man, who asked to be identified only as Chow, told Reuters.


The violence has hit pockets of Hong Kong at different times over more than three months, allowing life to go on as normal for the vast majority most of the time.

But pictures of petrol bombs and street clashes broadcast worldwide present a huge headache for Beijing just days ahead of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic on Oct 1.

The Hong Kong government has already called off a big fireworks display to mark the day in case of further clashes.

China, which has a People’s Liberation Army garrison in Hong Kong, has said it has faith in Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam to solve the crisis.

Police fired tear gas to disperse pro-democracy protesters who threw petrol bombs in two new towns on Saturday after pro-China groups pulled down some of the “Lennon Walls” of anti-government messages. There were violent clashes elsewhere in the city.

Police condemned the violence and said there had been many serious injuries in fights between people of “different views”.

“They threw petrol bombs at police vehicles and police officers, and even attempted to snatch the revolver of a police officer,” police said in a statement on Sunday.

In a late-night statement on Saturday, the government strongly condemned the radical protesters’ “violent and vandalistic acts which completely disregard law and order”.

Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng wrote on her blog that the rule of law would be upheld. “Our courts administer justice in full accordance with the law and admissible evidence… Some may not like the outcome but it does not mean that the independence of the judiciary is in any way compromised,” she wrote.

The protests escalated in June over a legislation, now withdrawn, that would have allowed suspects to be sent to mainland China for trial. Demands have since broadened into calls for an independent inquiry into alleged police brutality, and universal suffrage.

The protesters are angry about what they see as creeping Chinese interference in the former British colony, which returned to China in 1997 under a “one country, two systems” framework intended to guarantee freedoms that are not enjoyed on the mainland.

China says it is committed to the “one country, two systems” arrangement and denies meddling. It has accused foreign governments including the United States and Britain of inciting the unrest.


Hong Kong’s chief secretary for administration said on Sunday that the Hong Kong government hopes to seek solutions to problems through sincere dialogues and that he has started in-depth dialogues with people from different sectors.

“The (Hong Kong) SAR government hopes to engage in sincere dialogues with people from all walks of life and with different political stands and backgrounds, so as to more thoroughly understand the deep-seated problems in the society, seek solutions and push Hong Kong forward,” Mr Cheung Kin Chung said in a blog article published on the official website of the Chief Secretary for Administration. SAR refers to Special Administrative Region.

Mr Cheung said that besides his recent in-depth dialogues with people from different sectors, the Commission on Children and the Youth Development Commission, both chaired by him, also held meetings last week to discuss the controversies caused by current social incidents.

The meeting of the Commission on Children, focusing on issues including campus bullying, agreed that inappropriate exposure to violent scenes may have a far-reaching emotional impact on children, and called on people to put the good of children as the priority, he said.

The Youth Development Commission has held a thematic meeting focusing on housing, and will hold more such meetings on issues of education and employment, Mr Cheung said, adding that secretaries of relevant departments of the SAR government will attend the meetings and listen to advice.

“The government earnestly hopes the society will return to calm, replace confrontation with sincere dialogue and rebuild mutual trust,” Mr Cheung said, stressing that the SAR government will strive to build a caring, peaceful, inclusive and just Hong Kong with a sincere, pragmatic and humble attitude and a people-oriented approach.

The government announced last week that Mrs Lam and some of her principal officials will meet members of the public at the first community dialogue session on Thursday (Sept 26), as she tries to engage the people amid the ongoing anti-government protests.

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

‘History will take note of those who ridiculed removal of Article 370’: PM Modi in Maharashtra

PM Modi also expressed confidence that the BJP will break all victory records in the October 21 Maharashtra Assembly elections. Prime Minister on Thursday once again lashed out at the opposition saying that history will take note of those who mocked the abrogation of Article 370, that gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir. “Whenever Article 370 will be discussed in history, — the decision that was taken in the interest of the country — the people who opposed and ridiculed will be remembered,” PM Modi said while addressing a poll rally in Maharashtra’s Parli. He said the next week’s state Assembly elections were a battle between BJP’s “karyashakti” (power of development) and opposition’s “swarth shakti” (selfishness). Further targeting the Congress and NCP leaders, he wondered if “frustrated and dejected” people could do anything good for people. “A Congress

By The Statesman
October 18, 2019

Current affairs, Politics

S. Korean, ASEAN officials look ahead to special summit and stronger regional ties

Korea has increasingly look to Southeast Asia as an export destination and regional partners. Ahead of the highly anticipated summit in Busan next month between the leaders of South Korea and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, top officials from participating countries gathered in the southern port city Wednesday and voiced high expectations for the future of the relationship between South Korea and the ASEAN nations. South Korean Ambassador to ASEAN Lim Sung-nam, ASEAN-Korea Center Secretary-General Lee Hyuk, Busan Mayor Oh Keo-don and Myanmar Ambassador to South Korea U Thant Sin said they looked forward to the upcoming summit, calling it a steppingstone to stronger South Korea-ASEAN ties and to economic prosperity and peace on the Korean Peninsula. “In the past 30 years, the relationship between South Korea and ASEAN has grown to an astonishing degree. Trade volume rose 20-fold and human e

By The Korea Herald
October 18, 2019

Current affairs, Politics

No to terrorism, communalism

Still smarting from brutal murder of Abrar, Buet students vow to resist repeat of such incidents.  With the murder of Abrar Fahad fresh in everyone’s minds, protesting students of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology yesterday took an oath to resist terrorism and communal forces on the campus. “We will collectively prevent the rise of all sorts of terrorist activities and evil communal forces on the campus. Imbued with morality, we will uproot all the discriminatory cultures and abuses of power,” the students said in unison. “Together we will make sure that no innocent life falls apart and the innocent do not fall victim to torture on this university ground.” Several hundred students took the oath in presence of Buet vice-chancellor Prof Saiful Islam, deans of different faculties and provosts of the halls. The programme was

By Daily Star
October 17, 2019

Current affairs, Politics

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam unveils measures to ease housing crunch

Lam was forced to deliver speech via video after protests. Embattled Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam announced measures aimed at easing a housing shortage on Wednesday (Oct 16) as she battles to restore confidence in her administration and address widespread discontent after four months of mostly violent anti-government protests. Mrs Lam was forced to deliver her speech via video after her annual policy address in the Legislative Council was aborted when some lawmakers repeatedly jeered and shouted at her as she began speaking. After aborting her speech in the chamber tw

By The Straits Times
October 17, 2019

Current affairs, Politics

Typhoon death toll rises to 75; 16 missing

Most of the casualties occurred in Fukushima and Miyagi prefectures. Search and rescue operations are continuing in eastern Japan after record downpours in the wake of Typhoon No. 19 caused widespread devastation in the region. According to data collected by The Yomiuri Shimbun, as of 6 p.m. Tuesday, the disaster had claimed the lives of 75 people in 12 prefectures and 16 people were missing. The Tohoku region has seen extensive casualties with more than half of the victims killed in Fukushima and Miyagi prefectures. In Marumori, Miyagi Prefecture, floodwater in the central part of the town has started to recede but some areas are still underwater. The full scale of the damage is yet to be established. In areas where embankments had been breached, search and rescue operations are continuing round the clock, as the survival rate of trapped victims is said to

By The Japan News
October 16, 2019

Current affairs, Politics

Personal exchanges cement Sino-US ties, envoy says

Nicholas Platt accompanied US President Richard Nixon on his historic Beijing trip. Over the past four decades the China-US relationship has become too complicated to decouple, and many on both sides are determined to sustain it, a US diplomat and China expert told China Daily in a recent interview. Using an iceberg as an analogy, Nicholas Platt, who accompanied US president Richard Nixon on his historic trip to Beijing in 1972, said in an exclusive interview on Oct 3 that private, nonstate links between China and the United States have grown exponentially in past decades. They are kept intact below the surface despite the “jagged piece of ice” and “sharp edges” seen above the waterline. “There may be people who want to decouple us, but there are a lot of people who don’t, or people who’ve had relationships between” the two countries-organizations,

By China Daily
October 16, 2019