Police fire tear gas in Tai Koo amid another night of protests

October 04, 2019 13:30
Police fire multiple rounds of tear gas to disperse an angry crowd in Tai Koo, one of many incidents that took place in Hong Kong on Thursday night. Photo: HKEJ

Police fired tear gas to disperse protesters in the eastern part of Hong Kong Island on Thursday after crowds gathered to vent their anger at perceived excesses by law enforcement authorities and indulged in acts of vandalism at Tai Koo MTR Station and set up road barricades near the station.

After night fell, some people showed up at a Maxim’s store in Kornhill Plaza, which lies close to the train station, to show their displeasure at the food chain’s pro-Beijing stance, given that Annie Wu Suk-ching, daughter of the group's late founder James Wu Tak, had defended the government over the extradition bill debacle at the United Nations Human Rights Council last month.

After finding the store’s gate was closed, the demonstrators moved to Tai Koo station to continue their protest before many others joined them and packed the station after 8 pm, singing and chanting slogans.

Anti-riot police arrived later and drove the crowd out of the station. The officers left the station and went to the street, but a group of people followed and kept insulting the police personnel.

At around 9 pm, about 500 citizens occupied a section of King’s Road out Kornhill Garden, setting up barricades, after learning that a man, reported to be someone young, had been subdued.

As the crowd of people tried to block a police car from leaving, officers used pepper spray against the demonstrators before the vehicle was eventually able to leave, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

Many then returned to Tai Koo station and went on a vandalizing spree, damaging CCTV cameras and advertising light boxes. Shops inside the station closed and MTR staff returned to the control room.

Anti-riot police were deployed again sometime after 10 pm, setting up defense on King's Road outside Tai Koo Primary School, while protesters defended themselves using barricades and umbrellas. A second wave of dispersal then followed, with the police firing multiple rounds of tear gas after raising a black warning flag. 

Also on Thursday night, dozens of people gathered in the areas outside Prince Edward MTR Station and Mong Kok Police Station, chanting slogans and shining laser pointers. Elsewhere, nearly 100 people used miscellaneous items to block Kwun Tong Road.

In Sha Tin, several hundred people gathered inside the New Town Plaza at night, singing protest songs including “Glory to Hong Kong”.

In Tuen Mun, protestors built barricades along Tuen Mun Road, Tuen Mun Rural Committee Road and Tuen Hing Road near Tuen Mun Town Hall, seriously obstructing traffic between Kowloon and Tuen Mun for a while. Some of them damaged Tuen Mun Government Offices and broke a number of glass structures.

Passions were running high among the protesters after an incident on Oct. 1 when a policeman used a live round on an 18-year-old demonstrator, shooting him in the chest at close range, following a clash in Tsuen Wan.

Adding to the anger were reported plans by authorities to invoke an emergency law to ban the use of face masks during protest events. 

Suffering vandalism acts at several stations, rail operator MTR Corp temporarily closed four stations -- Tai Koo, Tai Po Market, Kwun Tong and Ngau Tau Kok stations -- during the night.

On Friday, the transport firm said all stations will open, but warned that passengers may need more time to make their journeys as some entrances and exits had been damaged, RTHK reported.

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TL/JC/RC