SPECIAL ALERT: HONG KONG PROTEST MONITOR 1 NOVEMBER 2019

1 November 2019

THE SITUATION NOW

Violent clashes between protesters and the police at numerous rallies and other demonstrations continued throughout Hong Kong in the past week. While the size of rallies is declining, protesters continue to employ hit-and-run and often extreme tactics that the police counter with increasing levels of force and violence. Mass transit rail (MTR) stations and business perceived to be supportive of the local and central governments or opposed to the protesters continue to be attacked and damaged. 

On Saturday 26 October thousands of Hong Kong healthcare professionals, including doctors, nurses and healthcare workers joined an approved evening rally at Chater Garden, Central. During the rally, activists accused the police of extreme force against some protesters and to emphasise the equal treatment of all patients regardless of their political or occupational status. The peaceful gathering ended around 2130 local time without any major incidents.  

Later the same night, clashes between police and radical activists occurred in northern Yuen Long, New Territories. A crowd gathered for an illegal rally at around 2000 in the Castle Peak area before activists blocked nearby roads and damaged traffic lights. Riot police subsequently used tear gas to disperse the crowd after midnight. 

On Sunday 27 October a large crowd joined an unauthorised march during the afternoon in Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, to condemn the police use of water cannon the previous weekend against a local mosque. The march began peacefully at Salisbury Garden but became chaotic around 1630 when riot police were arrived. The police used pepper spray, tear gas and rubber bullets against the marchers at the intersection of Salisbury Road and Nathan Road, who retaliated by throwing projectiles. One group of protesters moved to Kwan Wan and Hung Hom, bringing traffic to a standstill. Around 1700 the police used tear gas near Chungking Mansions on Nathan Road, where a water cannon was deployed.


Police used pepper spray and batons to disperse crowds in Tsim Sha Tsui, 27 October 2019

Tensions escalated after dark as activists staged hit-and-run attacks against the police and other targets throughout Kowloon, including Mong Kok, Yau Ma Tei, Jordan and Sham Shui Po. Protesters blocked major streets, set multiple makeshift barricades on fire and reportedly threw petrol bombs at the Cheung Sha Wan Government building, Sham Shui Po police station and Mong Kok MTR station. A branch of the Best Mart 360, linked by some activists to organised criminal groups (‘triads’), was also attacked and set on fire. 

In Yau Ma Tei, a man accused of being an undercover police officer was attacked by protesters and injured. On Argyle Street, Mong Kok, a man speaking Mandarin was also attacked by protesters and accused of taking close-up pictures of them. He was rescued when police intervened with tear gas. 

During Sunday night the government-owned RTHK media organisation, Apple Daily, Stand News, South China Morning Post and Hong Kong Free Press newspapers claimed their journalists covering the protests were injured, manhandled and pepper-sprayed by the police.

During the evening of Monday 28 October, hundreds of protesters gathered at the Tai Hing New Territories North Police Regional Headquarters in Tuen Mun over an unexplained smell that local residents claimed came from the facility. Some protesters alleged the smell was caused by the police testing tear gas, which the police denied. At around 2030 protesters started directing laser pointers at the police officers and blocked major roads with rubbish bins and other objects. At around 2200 some activists attacked and damaged a branch of the Bank of China and threw a petrol bomb into a Lung Mum Café operated by the Fulum Group, which is perceived to be linked with a triad. Police fired multiple rounds of tear gas from their base to disperse the crowds, who later returned and remained outside the facility until midnight. 

In the afternoon of Wednesday 30 October, protesters vandalised the Hong Kong Design Institute (HKDI) in Tiu Keng Leng, New Territories. The incident was in relation to the death of 15-year-old female HKDI student on 19 September. Protesters allege the youth died as a result of police brutality. However, A2 Global Risk has not seen any credible evidence to support these allegations.

That evening, protesters, for the second time in a week, gathered outside Tai Hing New Territories North Police Regional Headquarters in Tuen Mun in response to an unknown smell local residents claimed made them feel unwell.  Demonstrators threw petrol bombs and directed laser pointers at the building. They were confronted by dozens of police supporters who chanted pro-government slogans while police officers fired multiple bean bag rounds and made at least 70 arrests. 



Protesters in masks gathered near Lan Kwai Fong, 31 October 2019

On 31 October Halloween festivities ended in clashes between partygoers, protesters and police. At around 1900 an estimated 100 people, most with their faces covered, gathered at Causeway Bay and marched illegally to Lan Kwai Fong, a key entertainment area in Central district. The police, concerned with overcrowding and the potential for unrest, had previously erected barriers and deployed large numbers of officers in the area. At 2000 the police started barring people from entering the area, blocking the D’Aguilar Street and Wellington Street intersection. Tensions escalated as many people refused to leave and some protesters started a fire at one of the exits of the nearby Central MTR station. At around 2200 police used pepper spray and tear gas to clear the crowd. 

Meanwhile, a group of protesters gathered at the Mong Kok police station and Prince Edward MTR station in Kowloon, where they threw bricks at the police, damaged some of the MTR exits and set a fire on Nathan Road.  At around 1900 the police fired tear gas and later used pepper spray and rubber bullets to disperse the crowds.

 

THE WEEK AHEAD

A2 Global Risk continues to expect significant protest-related violence over the coming week, with the threat that business entities within the vicinity may suffer direct and/or collateral damage.

On Friday 1 November a rally to condemn the police firing a shot during a protest on 1 October is scheduled at the intersection of Hoi Pa Street and Tai Ho Road in Tsuen Wan at 1900. Elsewhere, protesters plan flash-mob singing rallies at New Town Plaza in Sha Tin, Festival Walk in Kowloon Tong and MOKO in Wan Chai from 2000 to 2200. A2 Global Risk warns that there is a significant risk of vandalism at the shopping malls and nearby MTR stations.

A protest march planned to start at 1500 on Saturday 2 November at Victoria Park, Causeway Bay, has been denied authorisation by police but is likely to go ahead. The organisers claim more than 100 candidates have scheduled to hold election rallies linked to forthcoming local polls from 1500 to 1700 at Victoria Park.

Other protesters plan to march peacefully to Central and join two separate rallies at 1700 that have been approved by the police. One is scheduled to be held at Edinburgh Place in order to call on the US Senate to pass the Hong Kong Human Rights Act. The other is to make origami cranes at Chater Garden, Central. A2 Global Risk warns there is a significant risk that major roads in the vicinity will be impassable to traffic during the marches. It is also probable radical activists will initiate violent attacks against such targets as MTR stations, disrupting operations and attacking shops they link to China or anti-protest interests. As a result, we recommend that Causeway Bay, Central, Admiralty and Tsim Sha Tsui be avoided where possible on Saturday afternoon and night.

On Sunday 3 November protesters plan to form a human chain from 1700 at the second floor of CityPlaza, Taikoo Shing, Hong Kong island, and surround all shops linked to the Maxim Group, which anti-government protesters perceive as pro-Beijing. Businesses such as Simply Life, Peking Garden, Jade Garden and Chiu Chow Garden restaurant are viewed as targets. A2 Global Risk warns protesters are likely to attack and damage the Maxim Group-linked businesses, with the risk other shops, restaurants and other facilities in CityPlaza may also be affected.

Protesters have called on people to wear masks and to demonstrate on Tuesday 5 November. Full details of the planned protest will not be revealed until 1900 that day. A2 Global Risk warns of skirmishes between protesters and the police are almost inevitable, with a concomitant high probability of violence. We therefore recommend foreign residents and visitors be prepared to leave the immediate area if it becomes evident that confrontation is likely.

On Wednesday 6 November a rally is scheduled at Kwai Chung Police Station at 1600 to support those arrested during previous protests. A2 Global Risk warns it is likely the rally will result in clashes between police and protesters. We advise foreign residents and visitors to be prepared for disruption in the area and plan alternative travel arrangements in the event public transport networks are suspended or blocked. 


INTERNATIONAL INCIDENTS

Over the weekend of 2-3 November protests in support of the ‘Emergency Call for Hong Kong Autonomy’ are planned in dozens of cities worldwide including:

  • United Kingdom: London, Nottingham, Sheffield, Edinburgh
  • France: Paris
  • Germany: Berlin, Hamburg, Frankfurt, Cologne
  • Belgium: Brussels
  • Canada: Halifax, Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal, Winnipeg, Edmonton
  • United States: Washington DC, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, New York, Seattle, San Diego
  • Japan: Tokyo
  • Australia: Sydney, Brisbane, Perth, Melbourne, Adelaide 
  • New Zealand: Auckland  


UPCOMING PROTESTS 

Friday 1 November

A ‘flash-mob’ rally is scheduled at Chater Garden, Central, at 1230.

An election rally is scheduled at 2000 to 2200 at Tsuen Wan Plaza in Tsuen Wan, New Territories.

An event referred as ‘Run Together with Hongkongers’ is planned to start at 2100. Protesters are scheduled to run from Sun Yat Sen Memorial Park, Sai Ying Pun, to Golden Bauhinia Square in Wan Chai.

Flash mob rallies are scheduled at New Town Plaza in Sha Tin, Festival Walk in Kowloon Tong and MOKO in Wan Chai from 2000 to 2200.

A rally to condemn the police firing a shot during a protest on 1 October is scheduled at the intersection of Hoi Pa Street and Tai Ho Road in Tsuen Wan at 1900.

Saturday 2 November

A rally called ‘Emergency Call for Aid and Hong Kong Autonomy’ is scheduled at Victoria Park at 1500. Police have banned the event, making participation illegal.

Protesters plan to march from Victoria Park to Central from 1500 to 1700.

A rally appealing for the US Senate to pass the Hong Kong Human Rights Act is scheduled at Edinburgh Place, Central, at 1700. The rally has obtained authorisation.

A gathering to make origami cranes is scheduled at Chater Garden at 1700 and it has been approved by the police.

Sunday 3 November

Protesters plan to form human chains at the second floor of the CityPlaza, 18 Taikoo Shing Road at 1700. They plan to target businesses linked to the Maxim Group, including Simply Life, Peking Garden, Jade Garden and Chiu Chow Garden Restaurant. 

Monday 4 November

Protesters plan to walk barefoot from Hong Kong Design Institute in Tiu Keng Leng, New Territories to Tseung Kwan O from 1930.

Tuesday 5 November

Protesters are calling for people to wear masks and join flash mob rallies. Time and locations to be confirmed on the day.

Wednesday 6 November

A demonstration to support those who were arrested during the previous protests is planned at the Kwai Chung police station, New Territories, from 1600 to 1930. 


PROTEST CHRONOLOGY 25-31 OCTOBER

Friday 25 October

Hundreds of people formed a human chain in Tseung Kwan O to express their suspicion over the death of a 15-year-old student in September.

Saturday 26 October

Hundreds of medical workers rallied peacefully at Chater Garden, Central, to protest against police brutality.

A group of protesters gathered after dark at Castle Peak Road near Tai Tong Road in Yuen Long, New Territories. They blocked roads, damaged traffic lights and hurled objects to the police, who responded with tear gas after midnight.

Sunday 27 October

Hundreds of people gathered peacefully at Salisbury Garden during the afternoon before a group moved to occupy the intersection of Nathan Road and Salisbury Road, Kowloon. Activists threw objects at the police, who responded with tear gas.

At around 1600 one group of protesters moved to Peking Road, where they set up barricades. Another group marched to To Kwan Wan and Hung Hom and blocked parts of Ma Tau Wai Road. Some also moved to Mong Kok, Jordan and Yau Ma Tei.

Around 1700 police fired tear gas near Chungking Mansions on Nathan Road.

That evening tensions escalated in parts of Kowloon, where police fired multiple rounds of tear gas. Protesters reportedly hurled petrol bombs at Sham Shui Po police station, Cheung Sha Wan Government Offices and Mong Kok MTR station. Police fired tear gas on Argyle Street.

Monday 28 October

Around 2030, protesters gathered outside the police’s Tai Hing New Territories North Police Regional Headquarters on Tsun Wen Road in Tuen Mun, New Territories, blocking traffic and pointing lasers at the building. Around 2130 dozens of protesters gathered at a section of Leung Wan Street and erected makeshift barriers.

Around 2200 protesters attacked and damaged a Bank of China branch and a Lung Mun Cafe. Riot police fired tear gas in response.  

Wednesday 30 October

A group of protesters damaged classrooms and other facilities in the Hong Kong Design Institute in Tiu Keng Leng, New Territories, over the suspicious death of a 15-year-old girl in September.

Around 2030, a group of protesters gathered outside the Tai Hing New Territories North Regional Headquarters in Tuen Mun, directing laser pointers and abuse at police officers, who made several arrests.

Thursday 31 October

Police and Halloween partygoers and protesters clashed in Lan Kwai Fong, Central. After partygoers refused to leave the area or remove their masks, riot police fired tear gas and used pepper spray to disperse the crowd. One entrance of the Central MTR station was set alight.

Protesters surrounded the Mong Kok police station and Prince Edward MTR station in Kowloon, where they threw bricks at the police, damaged some of the MTR exits and set a fire on Nathan Road



END REPORT