HK govt condemns Sunday rampage of violence, arson

By Chen Qingqing and Bai Yunyi in Hong Kong Source:Global Times Published: 2019/9/29 23:41:12

Water cannon fires blue dye amid illegal protesters when rioters attacked the HKSAR government complex with Molotov cocktails on September 29 in Hong Kong. Photo: Chen Qingqing/GT


Rioters set fire along the Hennessy Road in Wan Chai, Hong Kong, on September 29. Photo: Chen Qingqing/GT

Black-clad protesters set fire to places across Hong Kong Sunday, following an illegal gathering kicking off at the Causeway Bay toward Admiralty. Such violent scenarios have continued over past months, putting the city on edge. 

HKSAR government strongly condemned the illegal acts of radicals who set fire in various places on Hong Kong Island as they seriously threatened life safety of people around, according to an HKSAR government spokesperson on Sunday.

Radicals holding flags of different countries gathered in front of shopping malls at the Causeway Bay area Sunday afternoon despite not obtaining  permission from the police. As usual, they ignored the warnings sent out from  police about their illegal assembly. Anti-government protesters provoked the police by flashing laser beams and repeating threats. Illegal protesters marched toward Wan Chai, heading to Admiralty where Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government complex and the headquarters of Hong Kong Police Force are located. When some frontline radicals called as "brave fighters" arrived at the government complex, they started smashing the building's windows with stones and hard objects, with some hurling Molotov cocktails at the building. 

Some local observers have already pointed out that young radicals, who risk their lives to do illegal acts such as attacking police officers, damaging public property, and vandalizing government buildings, know there are low costs of breaking the law, especially since the Occupy Central in 2014 saw some major convicted leaders of the anti-government movement bailed or sentenced to probation. 

When the police started dispersing illegal rioters with tear gas and water cannons, they fled quickly. The Global Times reporters witnessed several of them quickly change their black shirts to white or blue shirts, pretending to be normal passersby and hoping to avoid being arrested. 

Police officers, including Special Tactical Contingent, quickly detained and arrested some black-clad protesters along the Queensway late afternoon. The dispersal continued into night. Radicals committed arson in different places such as in front of the hotels in Admiralty and Wan Chai. Some tourists inside took pictures behind the front gate said they were too afraid to leave for dinner. 

The areas hit by the chaos on Sunday used to be popular areas for shopping and tourism. However, almost all the stores along the roads from Wan Chai to Causeway Bay were shut down on Sunday, and radicals also vandalized the MTR station in Wan Chai. Some online users who noticed the chaos in the city entering the 17th consecutive weekend of protests urged that people should say no to violence, no matter what their political views are. 

Hong Kong Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po said on Saturday that it is likely the city will register quarter-to-quarter negative growth in the third quarter of 2019, due to sluggish tourism and losses for food and beverage-related sectors amid social turbulence. He told the Global Times that once Hong Kong continues recording a negative third quarter, the city would technically be in a recession. 

Spreading violence across the Hong Kong Island on Sunday also forced the Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions to cancel a gala celebrating the 70th anniversary of the founding of People's Republic of China, scheduled to kick off at Queen Elizabeth Stadium at 7pm on Sunday night. 

"The violence seriously affected Hongkongers' normal lives and the celebration activities, which the union strongly condemned," said a statement the union sent to the Global Times on Sunday night. 

Months of protests have deprived people's freedom and rights to a normal life, and now radicals are depriving Hong Kong residents from celebrating the anniversary of the People's Republic of China, which cannot be tolerated at all, the statement said. 


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