A clean-up Hong Kong campaign organized by pro-Beijing lawmaker Junius Ho Kwan-yiu caused quarrels between people with different political views on the streets on Saturday.
In the morning, Ho appeared in Tuen Mun, Tsuen Wan and Shau Kei Wan to cheer up the teams of cleaners. At 11am, he shook hands and took selfies with dozens of cleaners near the Shau Kei Wan Bus Terminus.
Ho told the media that the campaign was aimed at providing positive energy to people in different districts in Hong Kong and he welcomed local people and mainland Chinese to participate.
Some cleaners later argued with people wearing black shirts – the unofficial uniform of pro-democracy protesters – and local residents. They called the black-shirt crowd “cockroaches,” who replied with chants of “rubbish” and “triads.”
Several middle-aged residents kept shouting at the cleaners until Ho left in a van. The cleaners then also left. Dozens of police stopped residents from following the cleaners.
In Tsuen Wan, several people went to the Lennon Wall near an MTR station and started removing items from it at about 10am. A woman threw a garbage bag at a journalist and a man pushed a photographer. The cleaners stayed at the site for about 10 minutes.
At about 10:30am, police received a report that three people had a quarrel with about 20 to 30 people, who were wearing blue-shirts carrying the “I love police” logo, and were removing posters from the Lennon Wall near the Lok Fu MTR station. One man’s arm was injured by the people wearing blue shirts, who were also carrying long-handled shovels.
More than 10 people were removing anti-extradition posters near the Yuen Long MTR station. A man tried to stop them but failed. Riot police arrived and restored some calm.
Ho has been a controversial figure since he was seen shaking hands with the leader of a large group of men in white shirts shortly before the men indiscriminately attacked people in Yuen Long MTR station on July 21.
Earlier this week, Ho called for the Lennon Walls to be cleaned in 18 districts across Hong Kong. He said he hoped the cleaning team numbers would reach 30,000.
On Thursday, the police said Ho had canceled the clean-up. However, Ho said the campaign would continue, but there would be no need to apply for a letter of no objection from the police.
On Friday, the police said in a media briefing that they would arrest anyone who disrupts public order on the streets, regardless of their political background. Late in the evening, Ho wrote a post on social media saying the clean-up Hong Kong campaigns would not involve Lennon Walls, only the streets.
It was not appropriate for Ho to organize a clean-up Hong Kong campaign as it would result in confrontations between people with different political views, Lam Tai-fai, a member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, said in radio program on Saturday. Lam said Ho should instead urge the government to clean up the Lennon Walls.
The government had received about 1,000 complaints about people putting up posters and papers at different places in the city since June, Sophia Chan Siu-Chee, the Secretary for Food and Health, said Saturday. It would clean up the walls if there were hygiene problems, Chan said, adding that people should remain peaceful no matter if they are putting up or removing things from the walls.
Recover Tuen Mun
The Tuen Mun Park Health Concern Group received approval from the police to hold a protest titled “Recover Tuen Mun” from 2pm to 5pm on Saturday. The group complained that some mainland women had returned to sing and dance indecently for tips in the park after the District Council in early July passed a motion to stop them providing entertainment there.
The MTR Corp announced on Saturday morning it would shut down Tuen Mun station at 1pm and Yuen Long station at 3pm. Riot police were seen at the two stations.
Saturday also marks the two-month anniversary of the July 21 attacks in Yuen Long station. Some people called for a rally near the station.