SPECIAL ALERT: HONG KONG PROTEST MONITOR 27 September 2019
THE SITUATION NOW
There were violent clashes between protesters and police in multiple districts over the weekend of 21-22 September during Hong Kong’s 16th week of unrest. Police and protesters used tear gas and petrol bombs respectively against a backdrop of burning road blocks and vandalised Mass Transit Railway (MTR) stations, with at least 50 people arrested. However, the most significant development over the previous week has been the targeting of private commercial interests perceived as pro-Beijing or hostile to the protest movement.
A pro-democracy protester throws a tear gas canister at police in Tuen Mun on Saturday 21 September.
On Saturday 21 September limited so-called ‘clean-up’ actions occurred in multiple districts involving pro-Beijing activists removing pro-democracy propaganda from ‘Lennon Walls’ located throughout the territory. The campaign, led by prominent pro-Beijing lawmaker Junius Ho, was officially cancelled late the previous evening due to fears it would instigate widespread violence between rival factions. As a result, attendance at the clean-ups was low and, while minor skirmishes occurred, no serious violence was reported.
Protesters damaged the interior of the New Town Plaza mall, Sha Tin on Sunday 22 September.
Later that afternoon several thousand protesters participated in a police-approved march from San Wo Lane Playground to the Tuen Mun government offices in the New Territories. As A2 Global forecast, the initially peaceful march became violent as radical protesters set China’s national flag on fire, smashed facilities of the Tuen Mun Light Rail Transit station, constructed barricades close to the Tuen Mun Tong Plaza shopping mall and threw petrol bombs at police, who responded with tear gas, pepper spray and other crowd control devices. While the overall number of protesters involved was smaller than in many previous similar events, observers noted the unrest appeared largely restricted to people from local communities rather than from other areas of Hong Kong.
In the evening an initially peaceful sit-in in Yoho Mall at Yuen Long, also in the New Territories, called to mark the two-month anniversary of an attack against pro-democracy activists and members of the public by an alleged organised criminal group (‘triads’), also became violent as protesters attacked the police with petrol bombs, who responded with tear gas. Other protesters occupied parts of Nathan Road in Mong Kok, Kowloon, or clashed with police in Tseung Kwan O in the New Territories.
On Sunday 22 September hundreds of protesters gathered in New Town Plaza mall in the New Territories town of Sha Tin, chanting pro-democracy slogans. The protesters also called for a boycott of businesses perceived as connected to, or supportive of, mainland China. The protesters damaged the mall’s interior, including daubing graffiti on storefronts, discharging fire extinguishers and destroying escalators and electronic display screens, forcing many outlets to close. Camera footage also showed a man suspected of supporting Beijing surrounded and beaten by protesters. Outside the mall protesters threw petrol bombs, set barricades on fire and damaged Sha Tin MTR station.
Separately, a crowd occupied Elements shopping mall at Kowloon Station and called for boycotts of shops operated by Maxim’s Group, whose founder’s daughter had criticised the anti-extradition protesters for the unrest. Targeted stores included Starbucks, Huawei and Bank of China, which reported minor damage.
On Monday 23 September a senior police official sparked widespread anger and ridicule when he described video footage of a subdued detainee apparently being repeatedly kicked by an officer as ‘a yellow object.’ The incident is seen as further eroding already rapidly declining public trust in the Hong Kong police force.
On Tuesday 24 September pro-democracy lawmaker and prominent activist Roy Kwong Chun-yu was hospitalised after being assaulted by four masked men in a car park in Tin Shui Wai in the New Territories, a district with active triad groups. Kwong claims one of the four filmed the incident.
On Thursday 28 September Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam held the first ‘community dialogue’ session at a well-guarded stadium in Wan Chai. Lam fielded questions from randomly selected members of the public, but failed to offer any political solutions as to how the crisis may be resolved while repeating her refusal to meet any of the protesters’ remaining demands.
THE WEEK AHEAD
A2 Global Risk anticipates substantial violence and disruption ahead of and during the 70th anniversary of the founding of People’s Republic of China (PRC) on 1 October. However, we also assess Beijing has no interest in diverting domestic or international attention away from the celebrations, making any deployment of PRC military or paramilitary forces to Hong Kong highly unlikely.
Umbrella Revolution’ demonstrators viewed occupying
Connaught Road Central on 30 September 2014.
On Saturday 28 September the Civil Human Rights Front (CHRF) will hold a rally to mark the fifth anniversary of the 2014 ‘Umbrella’ revolution that occupied areas of Hong Kong island for 79 days. The rally is scheduled between 1900-2100 at Tamar Park next to the government complex and has received police authorisation.
A2 Global Risk expects the rally to be well attended and is likely to cause widespread disruption throughout the nearby Admiralty and Wan Chai districts. There is a substantial risk of violence throughout Central, Admiralty, Wan Chai and Causeway Bay during and following the scheduled protest.
On Sunday 29 September a further so-called ‘stress test’ is scheduled at Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) and connecting transport routes from 1300. Recent attempts to disrupt HKG operations have been successfully prevented by the police and airport authorities, and A2 Global Risk does not expect severe disruption to occur on this occasion. However, minor disruption to transport routes to HKG remain possible and travellers are advised to allow for additional journey times.
Also on Sunday 29 September the ‘Global Anti Totalitarianism Rally’ is scheduled from 1430. Demonstrators plan to march from Causeway Bay to government headquarters in Tamar, Admiralty. The organisers have not applied for police authorisation, but the march is likely to go ahead regardless. A2 Global Risk warns there is a substantial risk of violence throughout Central, Admiralty, Wan Chai and Causeway Bay during the late afternoon and evening.
On Tuesday 1 October, the 70th anniversary of the founding of the PRC, multiple separate rallies to ‘mourn’ the occasion are scheduled throughout Hong Kong with widespread violence likely.
An initial rally scheduled at 1200 at the British Consulate in Admiralty will be followed by a larger march at 1400 organised by the CHRF between Victoria Park in Causeway Bay to Chater Road in Central. Again, serious violence is likely throughout Central, Admiralty, Wan Chai and Causeway Bay during the late afternoon and evening.
Separate marches and assemblies are also scheduled throughout the afternoon across districts in Kowloon, Sha Tin, Tuen Mun, Tseung Kwan, Yau Tsim Mong, Wan Chai and Tsim Sha Tsui. None of these protests have received police approval and some may not materialise if activists decide to concentrate on key and iconic locations. However, A2 Global Risk expects substantial disruption and violence throughout Kowloon and the New Territories in the afternoon and evening.
On Friday 20 September a Hong Kong student at I-Shou University in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, was allegedly assaulted by a student from mainland China for supporting the protests.
On Tuesday 24 September US President Donald Trump told the United Nations General Assembly that his administration was ‘carefully monitoring’ the Hong Kong protests. He urged Beijing to protect the city’s ‘democratic’ way of life, marking one of his most harsh remarks over the massive protests.
On Wednesday 25 September, clashes occurred in Taiwan between pro-China students and pro-democracy students over Lennon Walls on campus of Taipei’s Soochow University, Shih Hsin University and Chinese Culture University.
On Thursday 26 September, the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019 has moved through the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the House Foreign House Affairs Committee, after receiving the approval of two congressional committees.
Over the weekend of 28-29 September protests in support of the ‘Global Anti Totalitarianism Rally’ are planned in dozens of cities worldwide. It is likely most of the rallies, if they go ahead at all, will be small and attended by limited numbers of the Hong Kong diaspora. However, cities including those in Australia, Canada, Taiwan, the United Kingdom and the Unites States, with large Hong Kong diasporas able to mobilise activists from outside their immediate communities are likely to host larger demonstrations. Low level inter-factional violence is possible should pro-Beijing counter protesters also attend. The global list of planned demonstrations is available here.
Friday 27 September
The ‘Bye Buy Day HK’ campaign continued on Friday. The movement calls for the public to reduce unnecessary spending on Friday and Sunday while limiting shopping to what the organisers call ‘ethical stores.’
The ’12 Joint-School Human Word Building Campaign’ is scheduled at the Soccer Pitches No. 5-6, Victoria Park, Hong Kong island, from 1600 to 1800. It is awaiting police approval.
The ‘Seminar on Emotions and Communications’ is scheduled in the Chinese University of Kong Kong, Sha Tin, New Territories, from 1900 to 2100.
The ‘9.27 Stand Up for Victims at Hong Kong San Uk Ling Torture Camp’ is scheduled at Edinburgh Place, Central, from 1930 to 2330. Letter of No Objection pending.
Saturday 28 September
The ‘Airport Transportation Stress Test’ is scheduled from 1300 to 0000. Protesters plan to occupy all public transport between Hong Kong city and Hong Kong International Airport (HKG), including using private cars on the highways to HKG in a bid to overwhelm the road system.
The ‘928 Opposing Authoritarianism and Welcoming the Dawn’ rally is planned at Tamar Park, Harcourt Road in Admiralty. It is organised by Civil Human Rights Front and has obtained police approval.
Protesters plan to build the largest Lennon Wall in Admiralty.
Sunday 29 September
The ‘Bye Buy Day HK’ is expected to continue.
The ‘Global Anti Totalitarianism Rally’ in Hong Kong is scheduled at 1430. Protesters plan to gather at Sogo, Causeway Bay and march to Central Government Offices.
The ‘Secondary School Students Strike Rally’ is scheduled from 1430 to 1900 at Tsuen Wan Park
The ‘929 Taiwan-Hong Kong Demonstration: Supporting Hong Kong, Opposing Totalitarianism’ rally is scheduled from 1500 to 0000 30 September in Taiwan. Two separate rallies are scheduled. One at Legislative Yuan, Jinan Road in Taipei City. The other at Aozihdi Forest Park in Kaohsiung City.
Monday 30 September
Protesters plan to form a human chain from Hong Kong Clock Tower to Prince Edward MTR Station from 1930 to 2200.
Students plan to form a human chain at Choi Hung Road, San Po Kong from 1900 to 2000.
Secondary students at Tin Shui Wai plan to form a human chain from Tin Sau Road Park to Ginza Square from 1930 to 2200.
Tuesday 1 October
The ’10.1 Celebration of National Day Carnival’ is scheduled at the Avenue of stars in Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon.
The ‘10.1 No National Day Only National Martyr’ demonstration is scheduled from 1400 to 2200. Protesters plan to march from Victoria Park to Chater Road, Central.
The ‘Not My National Day’ assembly is scheduled outside the British Consulate in Admiralty from 1200 to 1400.
The ‘Airport Transportation Stress Test’ is scheduled from 1300 to 0000.
The ‘Kowloon Military Parade’ is planned as following:
- From 1300 marching from Mei Foo and heading to Mong Kok
- From 1330 gathering at Wong Tai Sin and heading to Mong Kok
- From 1500 marching from Mong Kok to Tsim Sha Tsui
Separate rallies are scheduled in districts including Yau Tsim Mong, Sha Tin, Tuen Mun, Tseung Kwan O and Wan Chai from 1400. Letters of no objection pending.
The ‘Purifying Hong Kong 18 Districts Dharma Assembly’ is planned at West Kowloon Cultural District, Tsim Sha Tsui from 1430 to 1730.
A rally is planned at the Sha Tin Racecourse at 1400.
PROTEST CHRONOLOGY 20- 26 SEPTEMBER
Friday 20 September
An estimated a hundred students rallied in the evening at a shopping mall in Tsuen Wan.
Later, a crowd gathered inside a shopping mall in Cityplaza in Taikoo Shing, Hong Kong Island. They then moved to Quarry Bay Park to continue the protest.
Saturday 21 September
Around 0900, a group led by pro-government lawmaker Junius Ho gathered at a town square in Tuen Mun to ostensibly clean the streets, a euphemism for removing pro-democracy and anti-government materials. They later moved to Shau Kei Wan, Hong Kong Island, where they were confronted by pro-democracy protesters. Police prevented any serious unrest.
The ‘Clean Hong Kong’ movement ended in minor skirmishes in other locations across the territory, including Lok Fu, Yuen Long, Tsuen Wan, Mong Kok, Ho Man Tin and Wong Tai Sin.
At around 1500, hundreds of people marched from San Wo Lane Playground to the Tuen Mun government offices near Tuen Mun Park, New Territories in an approved demonstration. The initially peaceful march became violent near the Tuen Mun light rail station, where protesters reportedly directed laser pointers at police officers, damaged the station and erected barricades. The police responded with pepper spray and other crowd control devices. Protesters threw bricks and petrol bombs towards the police near Tuen Mun Tong Plaza, who responded with rounds of tear gas.
Hundreds of people joined a sit-in in Yoho Mall at Yuen Long. Some protesters set roadblocks on the nearby Fung Cheung Road and Castle Peak Road. Others later threw petrol bombs towards nearby police cars. A large crowd also gathered at Yue Long West Rail Station.
Later that night more than a hundred people, including many residents from Yuen Long district, gathered near Fung Yau Street North where they collectively mocked the police, who reportedly used pepper spray against some members of the crowd and detained others.
A group of people also placed flowers and made other offerings at Prince Edward MTR station for those injured in a controversial police action at the location on 31 August. Sections of Nathan Road were also blocked by protesters.
Sunday 22 September
Dozens of protesters threw objects at the Tseung Kwan O Police station in the early hours of the morning, erecting barricades to block the station exits. Police fired tear gas and the crowd dispersed.
Hundreds of protesters rallied outside mainland shops and businesses known to oppose the protest movement in New Town Plaza in Sha Tin and prevented them from opening for businesses. Some gathered at the upmarket Elements shopping mall at Kowloon Station, boycotting shops operated by Maxim’s. Some protesters set fire to barricades and threw bricks and a petrol bomb at police outside New Town Plaza, who responded with tear gas. Crowds were also evident in V Walk in Sham Shui Po and Metroplaza in Kwai Fong. Other protesters damaged parts of Sha Tin MTR station.
That evening protesters and the police briefly clashed at Tsing Yi MTR station, where fire extinguishers were activated. Nearby Kwai Fong MTR station was also attacked by a group of protesters and facilities damaged.
The same evening dozens of protesters gathered outside Mong Kok police station, directing laser pointers at the police and throwing bricks into the compound. Officers fired bean-bag rounds and tear gas to disperse the crowd. Later that night protesters gathered at the intersection of Nathan Road and Prince Edward Road and set some boxes and other debris on fire. Police quickly dispersed the crow, although some later returned to relight the fires.
Monday 23 September
Protesters gathered near the Mong Kook police station in the evening and started a small fire. Police marched down Nathan Road and the protesters dispersed.
Wednesday 25 September
A group of protesters gathered at Pacific Place in Admiralty at midday with a large yellow banner printed with the words ‘Glory to Hong Kong’ and sang the protest anthem of the same name.
Thursday 26 September
An estimated 50 pro-government supporters gathered outside the joint office of the Professional Teachers Union and the Civil Human Rights Front in Mong Kok, to accuse the organisations of encouraging the protests.
In the afternoon a group of students formed a human chain over a footbridge on Queen’s Road East in Wan Chai, near the Queen Elizabeth Stadium where the Chief Executive Carrie Lam held a dialogue with representatives from the public.
That evening a large crowd protested outside the Queen Elizabeth Stadium, blocking the outside roads in attempt to prevent Chief Executive Lam from leaving. Police warned the crowd but did not use violence to disperse them.