HONG KONG PROTEST MONITOR 03 April 2020
THE SITUATION NOW
To further combat the COVID-19 outbreak, on Saturday 28 March the Hong Kong government issued new regulations, including Article 599 the ‘Prevention and Control of Disease Regulations’, which bars the public assembly of four or more people. Nevertheless, political gatherings were ongoing and small-scale clashes between protesters and police continued.
On Monday 30 March, it was reported that three black-clad individuals threw three petrol bombs at the Happy Valley Police Station on Sing Woo Road, Hong Kong Island, setting alight one car. No one was harmed and police are investigating. The incident follows a similar attack on the police married quarters compound in Sheung Shui, New Territories on 23 March.
Activists gathered at Prince Edward MTR Station contravening the government's new social-distancing rules, 31 March 2020
Tuesday 31 March marked the eight-month anniversary of the 31 August 2019 clashes in which police allegedly attacked passengers indiscriminately at Prince Edward Mass Transit Railway (MTR) station in Mong Kok, Kowloon. At around 2000, people started to rally around the station to commemorate the event. While most participants vacated after leaving floral tributes, dozens of other activists constructed makeshift barricades and hurled petrol bombs, hitting a carpark and the Mong Kok East MTR station. Riot police reportedly made 54 arrests.
Elsewhere in Tuen Mun, New Territories, police arrested one suspect who allegedly dispersed debris across Wong Chu Road. On Lung Mun Road, riot police converged on Glorious Garden to disrupt a gathering of suspected anti-government demonstrators, who had allegedly held an illegal rally. Police said that around 80 protesters had gathered. No violence was reported.
In the early morning of Wednesday 1 April, three teenagers, aged between 16 and 18, threw five petrol bombs at the entrance to Tai Po Police Station in New Territories. No injuries were reported and police arrested the three attackers.
In the early morning of Thursday 2 April, two people reportedly threw five petrol bombs at BestMart 360 in Shan King Commercial Centre, Tuen Mun, New Territories. BestMart 360, a chain store that is viewed as pro-Beijing, has been targeted by pro-democracy activists during previous protests. Elsewhere, it was reported that stones were thrown on Tai Po Road – Yuen Chau Tsai, damaging five cars. No one was harmed in these two events.
THE WEEK AHEAD
At the time of writing no protests are scheduled over the coming week. However, the petrol bomb incidents occurred last week add to the continuing trend of similar attacks on police facilities and businesses perceived as pro-Beijing. According to police, around 70 petrol bombs were used in these attacks. While COVID-19 has reduced the tempo and spread of public protests, more ad hoc activities, including petrol bomb attacks, are likely to continue for the foreseeable future.
There has been growing criticism against the police for using Article 599 to target suspected anti-government activists and supporters, including businesses and their patrons, even if those individuals and entities are not actively engaged in protest activities. This has fuelled resentment against the government, prompting online condemnation and calls for protests once the pandemic diminishes. Public trust in the police force remains critically low amid unresolved allegations of police brutality. Protester activity will therefore present a persistent threat to personnel, assets and operations for the foreseeable future.
No activity is scheduled.
PROTEST CHRONOLOGY 27 MARCH – 2 APRIL
Monday 30 March
0230: Three black-clad individuals threw three petrol bombs at the Happy Valley Police Station on Sing Woo Road, Hong Kong Island.
Tuesday 31 March
2000: Protesters gathered around Prince Edward MTR Station in Kowloon for the ‘Never Forget 831’ rally. Radicals reportedly occupied Tai Nan Street and Prince Edward Road West, set debris and hurled petrol bombs, hitting a carpark and the Mong Kok East MTR station. Police made 54 arrests but did not deploy extreme tactics.
2030: Around 80 anti-government demonstrators rallied around Glorious Garden in Tuen Mun, New Territories. Riot police disrupted the gathering. No violence was reported.
Wednesday 1 April
0240: Three teenagers threw five petrol bombs at the entrance of the Tai Po Police Station in New Territories.
Thursday 2 April
0230: Two people reportedly threw five petrol bombs at BestMart 360 in Shan King Commercial Centre, Tuen Mun, New Territories.
0415: Activists threw around 30 stones at cars and shops on Tai Po Road – Yuen Chau Tsai, damaging five cars and a number of storefronts.