2019.12.24 Police and civilians clash on Christmas Eve
Some netizens initiated a district-wide campaign on Christmas Eve, including “streets walking” activities, singing Christmas carols in shopping malls and counting down in front of the Hong Kong Clock Tower in Tsim Sha Tsui. A large number of police tactical units were on alert in Tsim Sha Tsui, Mong Kok, Sha Tin, and Yuen Long. After nightfall, some protesters set up roadblocks in the area between Tsim Sha Tsui and Mongkok and confronted the police, who fired tear gas to disperse the crowd, fill the Kowloon area with a white smoke of tear gas, became an alternative “White Christmas”.
Tsim Sha Tsui
A group of netizens staged a “Peace to Hong Kong” campaign this evening, with people gathering in shopping malls in Yuen Long, Sha Tin, Tsim Sha Tsui, Mong Kok, and Causeway Bay. The Commissioner of Police, Mr. Tang Ping-keung, met with reporters in Tsim Sha Tsui at 7 pm today to thank the frontline police officers who were on duty. He also hoped that the “black-clad thugs” would not vandalise shops, set fire to and scare the public, so that they could have a truly peaceful Christmas Eve.
Despite of his words, a large number of plainclothes police officers were on alert at many district malls after nightfall and clashes with the public. In Tsim Sha Tsui, when plainclothes police officers subdued a man at the Harbour City, a large number of people aroused and surrounded the plainclothes officers, who repeatedly beat the protesters and other people there with batons. A large number of police tactical units broke into Harbour City afterward to subdue the crowd, with some officers pointing their guns at the public and others using pepper spray.
People also gathered along Nathan Road and Salisbury Road. At around 9 pm, the police discharged tear gas next to The Peninsula on Nathan Road. The hotel immediately lowered its gate. It was the first tear gas ever fired on Christmas Eve. Many people were arrested in this police operation, including Sze Hon-Heng, known as PolyU’s “kitchen man”. At about 10 p.m., police’s water cannon trucks and the Unimog vehicle also arrived, and water cannon was fired to disperse the people there.
Clashes also broke out in the Mongkok district. At around 8 pm, a large number of police tactical units and plainclothes officers entered Langham Place (a shopping mall) in Mongkok, waving batons and shotting pepper spray. Many reporters and passers-by at the scene, including reporters from “The Stand News”, were hit. His camera was not spared at all.
At about 11:00 pm, the entrance to Mong Kok MTR Station was set on fire. HSBC Bank in Mongkok was also vandalised by protesters. The bank’s glass was broken and a graffiti message “A single spark can start a prairie fire” was sprayed, before a fire was set outside. Petrol bombs were thrown in the early morning, while police fired tear gas and pepper balls to disperse them.
HSBC closed the “Spark Alliance” (an organization that finances bail payments for persons arrested in connection with the 2019-2020 Hong Kong protest) account back in November. It explained that closing any bank account “was never a rash decision” and that their decision to close the account “had nothing to do with the recent situation” in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong Island was relatively quiet. Around 100 persons were arrested by the outflanking police tactical unit at Queen’s Road East, opposite the Wan Chai Police Headquarter, when they joined the “Shop with You” campaign in Causeway Bay and were planning to walk to Lan Kwai Fong in Central
Demonstrators also gathered at Yoho Mall II in Yuen Long. A large number of police tactical units entered the shopping mall to search for the protesters. At 8:00 p.m. roughly, a man pushed a police officer down while fleeing, and then took a leap down from the second floor in one fell swoop with another officer in pursuit. The man fell to the ground with injuries. He tried to get up, but fell again and was later sent away by paramedics.
Yuen Long District Councillor-elect Cheung Sau-yin revealed that he saw the man jumping from the second floor to the first floor “because two riot police caught up with him, so he jumped from the second floor to the first floor. He said the injured person was taken to Tuen Mun Hospital for treatment. “He was sober but constantly quarreling with pain but did not bleed,” he said.
Police confirmed that the man was still conscious after the fall and was taken to hospital for treatment. He is currently under arrest on suspicion of assaulting a police officer and police are investigating whether he is involved in any other crime.
Initium Media – Christmas Eve not in peace: Police and public clashes in various Hong Kong districts. Men fell trying to flee from police in Yuen Long and Mongkok. A man was severely hurt in lynching.