Scuffles at Lennon Wall near Yau Tong MTR station

July 11, 2019 15:45
Police officers call for restraint among contending parties at Exit A of Yau Tong Station on Wednesday night.  Photo: RTHK

Scuffles broke out near Yau Tong MTR Station in Kwun Tong as some people attempted to remove sticky notes posted on a wall with messages supporting the anti-extradition bill campaign.

On Wednesday night, some young people were trying to set up a so-called Lennon Wall at Exit A of Yau Tong MTR Station, before several middle-aged individuals taunted and shouted coarse language at them, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

More people from the two sides later arrived at the scene, and tensions heightened as a few hundred people gathered around late in the night.

A huge contingent of police officers arrived at the station exit to try to maintain order.

Many of the people in the crowd were quite agitated, and police had to use loudspeakers to call for calm and restraint.

Lennon Walls, which first appeared in Hong Kong during the pro-democracy Occupy movement in 2014, are springing up across the city as people stick colorful notes on them to express their opposition to proposed legislation that would allow extradition to mainland China.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor on Tuesday said the extradition bill is "dead" but protesters were not satisfied with her latest remarks, saying that she should scrap it altogether.

A video has been circulating on social media since Thursday morning, showing a middle-aged man punching a younger man a few times in a pedestrian walkway, while surrounding walls are covered with Post-it notes of varied colors.

Meanwhile, police arrested a 46-year-old man after he allegedly attacked two people defending a Lennon Wall in Kowloon Bay, RTHK reported.

The man was arrested on suspicion of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, the broadcaster quoted the police as saying.

Shortly after 12 a.m. on Wednesday, police officers armed with helmets, batons and riot shields poured into a pedestrian tunnel outside the Tai Po MTR station and removed from the walls sticky notes showing a police officer’s photos and personal information.

The officers did not touch the other notes posted on the walls of what has been dubbed "Lennon Tunnel". They encountered no resistance from passers-by.

While most of the notes on the walls were comments against the extradition bill, and the protesters' demands to the government, some contained harsh words for a certain police officer who is accused of trying to provoke protesters during a clearance operation in Mong Kok on Sunday.

An inspection conducted by the HKEJ at the Lennon Tunnel on Wednesday afternoon showed that personal information and even a photo of the police officer appeared again on the walls.

The officer is said to have engaged protesters in a shouting match during a clearance operation in Mong Kok on Sunday. He was allegedly heard challenging them to a duel.

In response to media inquiries about the removal of some of the notes on the wall, the Police Public Relations Branch (PPRB) said the notes concerning the police officer might have violated the Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance.

Apart from sending officers to remove them, the police will also use the notes as evidence, the PPRB said, adding that the police will consider transferring the case to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data for follow-ups.

Democratic Party lawmaker James To Kun-sun, who is deputy chairman of the Legislative Council’s Panel on Security, said it is ridiculous for the police to dispatch a disproportionate number of officers, nearly 100 of them, for the purpose of removing the notes.

He asked whether the police action had any legal basis.

If privacy issues were involved, police should have applied for a civil injunction before taking any other action, To added.

The original Lennon Wall was put up in Prague, the Czech Republic, in 1980 to commemorate the assassination of Beatles singer-songwriter John Lennon, and has since been filled with graffiti espousing various causes.

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