Hong Kong’s pro-government camp is organizing a rally on Saturday evening at Tamar Park in Admiralty called “safeguard Hong Kong”, the first in a series of planned activities.
Kennedy Wong Ying-ho, one of the co-organizers and a member of the national committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), said they aim to restore peace in society and support police enforcement.
He encouraged people joining the rally not to wear facemasks or helmets and refrain from any violent actions.
All pro-establishment camps including the Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions (FTU), the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB), New People’s Party, Business and Professionals Alliance for Hong Kong, Liberal Party and Heung Yee Kuk, as well as some pro-Beijing figures and tycoons including former health secretary Ko Wing-man and Kenneth Fok Kai-kong, are listed as the co-convenors of the rally.
Stanley Ng Chau-pei, president of the Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions, criticized the anti-extradition bill protesters for “losing their humanity” when assaulting police and storming the Legislative Council building, Radio Television Hong Kong reported.
When asked about the violence at a pro-police rally in Tamar Park in June when a democratic lawmaker, journalists and members of the general public were attacked by police supporters, Wong appealed all the participants at his rally not to get into clashes with opponents, the Ming Pao Daily reported.
Wong, without addressing reporters’ questions about whether the organizers had contacted the Hong Kong Liaison Office over the series of government supporting activities, only admitted there were some routine contacts between the Liaison Office and deputies of the National People’s Congress (NPC) and CPPCC.
Wong emphasized that they were all taking part on a voluntary basis and the funding for their activities come from fundraising.
Meanwhile, Dah Chong Hong, a majority-owned subsidiary of CITIC Limited, sent emails to all its workers on Thursday calling on them to join Saturday’s rally “voluntarily,” Apple Daily reported, citing a post on the local message board LIHKG. But the email stated that all workers had to reply by 5pm on Thursday so as to group them together to join the activity.
Also, there was an unusual way to promote Saturday’s rally. At about 2 am on Friday, six coaches drove around 300 people, all dressed in white or black with some wearing facemasks, to the “Lennon Tunnel” in Tai Po in the New Territories.
This mysterious group, some of them reportedly speaking Putonghua, rushed to the tunnel in groups. Some destroyed the sticky notes on the walls, some covered up the Post-it notes with “Safeguard Hong Kong” posters and black and white photos of pro-democracy lawmakers, like Claudia Mo, Lam Cheuk-ting, Taiwan president Tsai Ing-wen and singer Denise Ho.
At the tunnel entrance, there used to be four Chinese characters saying “Lennon Tunnel,” which were posted by anti-extradition bill protesters, but a group of men replaced this with a Chinese idiom meaning “on one’s deathbed.” Ten funeral flower wreaths were placed on both sides of the tunnel.
The group threatened reporters and passers-by not to take their photos. They stayed for about 15 minutes and left before police were called in.
By Friday morning, some of the posters put up by the mystery group had been removed and replaced with more messages against the government.
It was understood that the mysterious group comprised of mainland tourists, students or retirees. A few were villagers in the New Territories with triad backgrounds, Apple Daily reported.
A photo went viral on Facebook on Friday showing a WhatsApp group screen-grab of a person named “Tung Gor” recruiting helpers to do a “one-hour poster clearing job” in Tai Po – free shuttle bus provided and a salary is HK$500 (US$64) an hour.