The Hong Kong Police Force has deployed more officers on the streets after mysterious posters apparently calling for violent protests were found in several markets set up for the Lunar New Year holidays.
In a press conference on Thursday, Superintendent Leung Chung-man of the Kowloon West Regional Headquarters assured the public that law enforcement units are capable of responding to any outbreak of violence and similar incidents, adding that police are following up on the posters, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
Police will resolutely enforce the law should anyone be found breaking the law, Leung said.
According to Ming Pao Daily, the posters were discovered by Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) staff at several markets set up for holiday sales at Victoria Park as well as in Tsuen Wan and Yuen Long.
Pro-Beijing newspapers Ta Kung Pao and Wen Wei Pao also reported that witnesses saw a masked woman putting up the posters in several areas at Victoria Park.
The poster, which has been circulated online, is emblazoned with the words “Liberate New Year Eve” and a photo of a market on fire. It is apparently calling on the public to gather in the area at 11 p.m. on Friday, the eve of the Lunar New Year, in order to stage a protest.
It is not clear what the protest will be about, or what form of protest will be staged.
Police have removed the posters and remained on high alert, but they hope there will be no violent incidents similar to those that occurred in Mong Kok at about the same time last year when hawkers and their supporters clashed with police.
A source said about 1,500 policemen will be deployed between Friday and next Tuesday with enhanced patrols in Kowloon West and Hong Kong Island.
Health Secretary Ko Wing-man said the FEHD is ready to beef up manpower on the streets to help police officers enforce the law.
Meanwhile, several localist groups, including Hong Kong National Party, Hong Kong Indigenous, Youngspiration and Civic Passion, denied any involvement with the posters or protests allegedly being planned during the long weekend, Ming Pao Daily reported.
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