Hundreds of people crowded around the customer services counter at the New Town Plaza on Tuesday demanding to know why the mall management allowed police to enter the mall on Sunday night, sparking a confrontation with anti-extradition bill protesters.
At around 7pm, shops near the customer service counter on the 4th floor closed early as more people responded to an online call to gather around the counter. They demanded an explanation from the mall management and chanted “Shame on New Town Plaza” and “Sell Hong Kong.”
One Sha Tin resident said: “What happened on Sunday was totally unacceptable to all people living in this town. This is an open public space,” Radio Television Hong Kong reported.
“This shopping mall hasn’t done anything regarding their obligation and duty to protect the people who are the shoppers and those who have actually contributed to the growth of this business over the last three decades. They are selling themselves. They are selling their souls and their business.”
Some staff at the customer service counter complained of feeling unwell and were sent to hospital by ambulance.
Some people sat on the floor and stairs while others continued to stand. They also set up a “Lennon Wall” by posting some sticky message notes on the counter and the walls to express their discontent. Most of them had left by midnight.
Earlier, the shopping mall issued two statements on its Facebook page, saying that it did not call the police for assistance on Sunday. However, video clips on Sunday showed two employees taking riot police into the mall. Protesters accused the mall’s developer, Sun Hung Kei Properties, of being untruthful.
The mall management, however, admitted that due to the search warrant, they allowed police to collect surveillance camera footages of Sunday’s clashes.
On Tuesday afternoon, 15 pro-democracy Sha Tin district councillors held a press conference to slam the mall’s management for neglecting the safety of shoppers by letting police in. They accused the management of helping riot police outflank and trap protesters inside the mall.
The police tactic on Sunday was criticized as they cleared protesters from the street leading into the mall, then surrounded the complex, effectively trapping protesters and the general public, inside the mall.
The confrontation resulted in 28 people and 13 officers being injured. Police arrested 40 people.
Meanwhile, a 22-year-old man surnamed To has appeared in Sha Tin Magistrates’ Court accused of wounding with intent, assaulting police officers, and failing to produce his ID card. He allegedly bit off part of a police officer’s finger during the clash.
Several photos have surfaced on social media showing To biting the officer’s finger when his eye was being poked by the officer as he was being subdued.
Another man, surnamed Lam, who was arrested for alleged unlawful assembly on Sunday night, was charged with three counts of attacking three police officers inside Kwai Chung Police Station.
Both were released on bail.
Also, police was called in when a group of young people was surrounded and scolded a group of middle-aged men in Yuen Long, the New Territories on Tuesday night.
The young people were apparently showing video clips of alleged abusive policing in various protests in a park on Fung Yau Street North. Another group of people began swearing at them and threw cans of soft drinks at the youngsters.
More people learned of the incident on social media and about 100 people rushed to the park to support the youngsters. The crowd dispersed when police with shields arrived.
On Tuesday, online citizens on LIHKG, a local Reddit-like message board, said a Hong Kong citizen sent a letter to the UN Committee Against Torture in Geneva asking the UN to take action against the alleged abusive force used by the Hong Kong Police Force towards protesters during a number of demonstrations in the past month