1st May 2020 Netizens call to Shatin “Sing with You”. Riot police stormed the mall, dispersed citizens, journalists and councillors with pepper spray
Online chatter urging pro-democracy “sing with you” protest in Shatin’s New Town Plaza tonight. Before the event started, batches of riot police were already on standby. They searched passing by youngsters’ bags without explaining. After a 10-minute commotion, they asked the youngsters to leave in opposite direction. Around 18:30, more than 10 plainclothes police entered the premises to conduct checks on identity cards of civilians who were shopping and search their bags.
【18:39】Police requested those present to disperse and demanded reporters to present their press cards. Civilians were discontented with the police, insulting and asking them to leave the mall.
【18:50】Citizens’ determination did not stop. At the atrium of New Town Plaza, more than a hundred of protesters gathered with increasing number. They made the sign “Five Demands, Not One Less” with their hands, chanting slogans like “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our time” and “There are no rioters, only a tyrannical regime”. Security guards were observing the condition at the base level of atrium. Broadcasts of the mall advised citizens to keep distanced. Police had not interfered.
【19:00】Large crowd of riot police suddenly appeared at the exit of Shatin MTR station, flooded into the mall to disperse citizens. Whether the mall had called the police remained unknown. When reporters urged to interview, they were pushed by officers who claimed, “No matter you are a real reporter or not, you are not allowed to obstruct the lawful duties.” Afterwards, police cordoned off the area. Journalists were obstructed to interview. Civil Human Rights Front convenor Jimmy Sham and Civic Party lawmaker Alvin Yeung were at the scene to observe police operations.
【19:05】After citizens being dispersed, they gathered again at ground level of the atrium, continued confrontation with the police. The cops solely arranged the Police Public Relations Branch to videotape the bystanders. A while later, riot police rushed to ground level. Civic Party member Philip Tsang Kin-fung complained and questioned the officer, “Did Carrie Lam (Chief Executive) announce to lockdown the mall?” The officer did not answer, but shouted warnings and used pepper spray to threaten journalists and civilians, creating a tense atmosphere.
【19:15】Police guarded and used orange tape to barricade themselves. An officer suddenly became emotional, demanded citizens to back up and pushed them, subsequently fired pepper spray at a surrounding crowd including Sha Tin District Councillor Leticia Wong as well as Apple Daily reporter and other journalists. Police warned the crowd that they had violated the Prevention and Control of Disease Ordinance (Cap. 599G), i.e. gathering ban, fixed-penalty tickets would be issued for those staying behind.
【19:27】Cordon was set up at the atrium to stop citizens from getting close. Most of the shops closed early. Crowds stood by observed.
【19:56】Approximately 50 riot police guarded at the space outside Shatin Town Hall. Three passersby were inspected and requested to show their identity card before letting them go. At the same time, some people stayed and confronted with the police at the cordon line. Occasionally the crowd chanted slogans, while police continuously accusing them of violating the gathering ban. Both parties were in a stalemate.
【20:15】Riot police blocked off the entire mall, only allowing people to leave but forbid to enter.
【20:32】Riot police at Shatin Town Hall moved in towards the atrium. A plainclothes officer targeted his pepper spray at journalists and surrounding people, demanded them to leave immediately by yelling. Philip Tsang Kin-fung was brought aside and was issued a fixed-penalty summons for violating gathering ban. He showed his ticket to the press, criticizing the police abused the health regulation to suppress freedom, and allegedly questioned police as to why they were allowed to enter the mall to carry out legal enforcement. During the inspection by the police, an officer took his identity card and the other asked him to leave. He tried to retrieve the card, but the officer said, “You can either leave or being charged.” Tsang rebuked police were nonsense and emphasized that he may raise a plea.
【21:13】A black-clothed middle-aged man was being issued a fixed-penalty ticket for violating gathering ban. He was in fact alone, but being prosecuted, “They have gone too far.” He said.
【21:23】Police pushed the crowd towards New Town Plaza Phase 3, outflanked the journalists and demanded everyone to leave from side entrance without rationales. An officer pointed pepper spray at the crowd to threaten them, causing chaos. Democratic party lawmaker Roy Kwong Chun-yu also arrived at the scene.
【21:47】The mall management announced that they would close earlier. Groups of riot police left from the third floor of the atrium by staircase. Dozens of citizens stayed behind chanting slogans.
【22:08】Those who stayed behind sang “Glory to Hong Kong”, the anthem of the anti-government movement, with a hand signal of “Five Demands, Not One Less”. After that, they chanted slogans like “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our time”.
【22:16】Loads of riot police came from bus terminal near MTR station towards the atrium. Some of them held pepper spray and pepper ball gun and set up cordon line at the atrium. Miss Joy Luk, a blind lawyer, was there to negotiate with the police.
【22:35】Police started to retreat after the commotion. Most of the shops were closed and lights went off. Most of the protesters departed. The scene returned calm with a few reporters, district councillors and citizens stayed.
【22:42】Though New Town Plaza returned peaceful, a large amount of police officers were still on standby at the bus terminal nearby. They stopped and checked civilians arbitrarily, driving the journalists away from recording. Some civilians were released after being checked. One of them said only the identity card was checked, no fines were issued.