HONG KONG PROTEST MONITOR 14 FEBRUARY 2020

14 February 2020

THE SITUATION NOW

As forecast, much of the protest activity in the past week was limited to residential neighbourhoods where the government designated quarantine sites as part of its measures to counter the coronavirus outbreak. While some pro-democracy activists were present at these gatherings, most of those objecting to the quarantine facilities in their area were local residents.

The main overtly political protest occurred on the evening of Saturday 8 February when dozens of people gathered outside the Sheung Tak Estate in the New Territories Tseung Kwan O district to mark the death of Chow Tsz-lok who died following clashes between demonstrators and police on 4 November 2019.

The same day more than a hundred people marched in the same district to object to the government’s decision to establish quarantine sites in the area. At around 2200 local time members of the crowd blocked the intersection of Tong Ming and Tong Chun streets with debris. Police used batons, tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the crowd. After the police withdrew, some protesters returned and damaged traffic lights and set fires. The crowd finally dispersed at around 2300.

On Sunday 9 February, three rallies were called to oppose the use of local facilities as quarantine centres in the New Territories. In Sung Kung about 300 people gathered to oppose the use of the Sai Kung Outdoor Recreation Centre as a quarantine facility, resulting in a confrontation with the police. Around the same time around 200 people marched in Tai Po to protest against turning the local Jockey Club Clinic into a coronavirus health centre. Several protesters reportedly set up roadblocks and damaged traffic lights before the police arrived. That evening local residents protested in Fo Tan, Sha Tin, against plans to use the newly-built Chun Yeung Estate as a quarantine centre. Protesters blocked roads with debris and confronted police, but no serious violence was reported. Later that night at least three petrol bombs were thrown at Tim Sun Police Station in Sha Tin, causing minor damage but no casualties.


Police used batons against participants at a rally to oppose the use of facilities in Sai Kung, New Territories, as a quarantine centre: 9 February 2020

On Tuesday 11 February, dozens of people gathered in Kwai Chung, New Territories,   during the evening to protest against using the South Kwai Chung Jockey Club Polyclinic as a coronavirus health centre.  There was no violence, but police subdued 12 protesters and claimed to have seized items such as flags with political slogans, gas masks and other equipment they said were for unlawful use. 

On Wednesday 12 February, protesters attended lunchtime rallies in Wan Chai and Chater Garden on Hong Kong island and in Sha Tin to demonstrate their concern over the government’s response to the coronavirus outbreak. That evening a crowd gathered at Fu Shan Estate in Wong Tai Sin, New Territories, to protest against use of the East Kowloon Clinic as quarantine centre. Protesters and police officers exchanged verbal abuse but there was no violence. Rubbish bins, bus stop signs and other debris were used to briefly block local roads.


THE WEEK AHEAD

More protests are scheduled over the coming weekend against government plans to set up quarantine facilities across the territory to counter the coronavirus outbreak.

On Saturday 15 February, online activity indicates two marches, one in Tin Shui Wan, New Territories, and the other from Aberdeen Centre on Hong Kong island are planned for the afternoon. On Sunday 16 February, a similar march is planned in Fo Tan, Sha Tin. The marches are intended to be peaceful as the majority of the participants are likely to be local residents. However, pro-democracy activists may seek to join the protests, increasing the potential for at least localised violence. 


Protester carries flag bearing pro-democracy slogans: 9 February 2020. Shutterstock/HUI

Thursday 21 February marks the seven-month anniversary of the attack by suspected organised criminal groups (‘triads’) on members of the public in Yuen Long, New Territories, on 21 July 2019. Pro-democracy protesters calling for demonstrations to mark the event have not scheduled any specific activities for the day. However, previous similar events on the 21st of each month since August 2019 have all ended in often violent clashes that resulted in damage to Yuen Long mass transit rail (MTR) station and the nearby Yoho Mall. While the coronavirus outbreak is likely to deter many from attending any large gatherings, we warn ‘flash-mob’ style actions are probable in the district, increasing the potential for localized violence.

By 1200 on Friday 14 February, authorities recorded 53 coronavirus cases in Hong Kong, including a single death, an increase of 29 cases from last week. The government has said more quarantine places are likely to be established if the health crisis worsens. To date, most Hong Kong residents deemed at risk from the virus are quarantined at home, with foreign nationals either held in hotels or in isolation centres. However, concerns over the size and severity of the outbreak continue to unsettle many local residents, almost certainly resulting in more planned and spontaneous virus-related protests and other actions occurring in the coming week.

UPCOMING PROTESTS

Saturday 15 February

1430:  A march against designating Tin Shui Wai Community Health Centre a coronavirus quarantine centre is scheduled in Tin Shui Wai, Yuen Long, New   Territories. The march is planned for the following route: Wang Yat Square – Hotel COZi Wetland – Tin Ching Estate – Tin Shui Wai Community Health Centre.

1530:  Protesters plan to march from Aberdeen Centre to Aberdeen Jockey Club Clinic, Hong Kong Island, to protest against designating Aberdeen Jockey Club Clinic a coronavirus quarantine centre.

Sunday 16 February

1500:  The ‘Protect Fo Tan’ march is scheduled to start at Fo Tan MTR B Exit, Sha Tin, New Territories. The march is planned along the following route: Au Pui Wan Street – Kweilin Street – Wong Chuk Yueng Street – Sui Wo Road – Shan     Mei Street – Fo Tan Road – Kwei Tei Street Garden.

Thursday 21 February

A rally is scheduled to mark the seven-month anniversary of the attack by suspected organised criminal groups on members of the public in Yuen Long, New Territories, on 21 July 2019. Time and locations remain unconfirmed. 


PROTEST CHRONOLOGY 7 FEBRUARY – 13 FEBRUARY 

Saturday 8 February

2000:  Protesters rallied at a car park in Sheung Tak Estate in Tseung Kwan O, New   Territories, to mark the death of Chow Tsz-lok. Others protested against establishing quarantine centres in the district. The intersection of Tong Ming and Tong Chun streets were temporarily blocked with debris.

Sunday 9 February

1330:  Protesters gathered at Tin Hau Temple in Sai Kung, New Territories, to protest against using the Sai Kung Outdoor Recreation Centre as a coronavirus a quarantine centre. The crowd later marched to Lakeside Garden.

1330: Protesters gathered in Tai Po to oppose designating the local Jockey Club Clinic a coronavirus health centre. Roadblocks were set up on Kwong Fuk Road and intersection of On Chee Road and On Cheung Road.

1900:  Protesters gathered in Fo Tan, Sha Tin, to protest against designating Chun Yeung Estate as quarantine centre. 

Monday 10 February

0400:  Protesters threw stones onto Tolo Highway, hitting a number of cars and disrupting traffic.

Tuesday 11 February

1200:  ‘Defend Hong Kong Movement’ group gather outside the Hong Kong Nursing Association at Hing Wan Commercial Building in Jordan, Kowloon, to protest against the healthcare strike amid the coronavirus outbreak.

1930:  Protesters gathered at Kwai Leun Estate in Kwai Chung, New Territories, to protest against coronavirus quarantine centres being located in their district. Police made dozens of arrests.

Wednesday 12 February

1215:  Protesters gathered at the Department of Health, Wan Chai, to protest against designating Kennedy Town Jockey Club Clinic a coronavirus quarantine centre.

1230: Protesters gathered at Chater Garden, Central, to protest against the government’s response to the coronavirus outbreak.

1245:  Protesters gathered at Shatin Commercial Centre, Shatin, to protest against using Chun Yeung Estate as a coronavirus quarantine centre.

2000:  Protesters gathered at Fu Shan Estate, Wong Tai Sin, New Kowloon, to demonstrate against using East Kowloon Clinic as a quarantine centre. Sections of the Po Kong Village Road was temporarily blocked with debris.


END REPORT