Riot police and protesters clashed in multiple districts in Hong Kong as netizens called for protests in large shopping malls on Sunday afternoon.
Hundreds of masked people began to gather in shopping malls in Tsuen Wan, Shatin, Kowloon Tong, Tseung Kwan O, and Causeway Bay after 2 pm. They were also seen on the streets in Tuen Man, Tai Po, and Mong Kok.
Protesters moved from place to place chanting slogans such as “Hong Kong people, revenge!” and “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times!” They called for the government to disband the police force and set up an independent commission of inquiry to look into police brutality.
The crowds in the various districts were angry that Chow Tsz-lok, a 22-year-old university student, was seriously injured during a protest in Tseung Kwan O at 1 am on November 4 and later died last Friday.
The public was also provoked by the alleged rape of a 16-year-old girl by four policemen in Tsuen Wan police station on September 27 after she was arrested. The lawyer of the girl filed a complaint to the police on October 22 but the police denied the complaint had been received.
On Saturday, the police force said the accusations were inconsistent with the findings of its preliminary investigations. However, it said the crime unit of its New Territories South Regional Headquarters would investigate the matter.
Meanwhile, an international panel of experts said the police watchdog, the Independent Police Complaints Council (IPCC), needs more powers if it is to conduct a rigorous inquiry into the policing of the protests in Hong Kong.
“The Independent Expert Panel conducted a stock-take this week which reveals some advance by the IPCC Taskforce, but structural limitations in the scope and powers of the IPCC Inquiry remain, inhibiting its ability to establish a coherent and representative body of evidence,” said the expert panel.
The panel also suggested that an independent inquiry may be the best way to proceed, assuming changes can be made to the way the IPCC works.
Due to recent events, clashes between police and demonstrators have escalated. Many more undercover police are being deployed and riot police use tear gas, pepper spray and pepper balls more frequently. Meanwhile, more masked people are willing to take greater risks and pick up bricks and metal bars to fight back, and more middle-aged and elderly people are joining protests.
In the Festival Walk in Kowloon, six people, including two muscular middle-aged men, attacked five police officers and freed two young people who had been arrested.
Between 2 and 3 pm, a few hundred masked people gathered and chanted slogans on the Festival Walk. They did not have much time to vandalize pro-Beijing restaurants, as dozens of riot police were patrolling the area outside the mall.
Targeted shops, including Simply Life, Sen-Ryo and Yoshinoya, which are operated by Maxim’s Caterers Ltd, closed early. Someone spraypainted graffiti on the windows of Simply Life.
The police did not react to the vandalism, but they did check the ID card of a young man outside the mall, provoking criticism from some middle-aged people at the scene.
At about 4:30 pm, the riot police left the site. Within a very short time, a group of black-shirted people started spraypainting graffiti on the gates of Sen-Ryo. Five undercover police showed up and arrested two teenagers, a male and a female.
Suddenly, two muscular men attacked five police officers, while four other people freed the girl. The boy and the attackers also fled. But the boy was then caught by other undercover police. An officer was punched in his right eye.
Meanwhile, more undercover police officers arrived and arrested another person. Riot police also subdued a man whose head was bleeding profusely.
A police officer told the crowd that it wasn’t blood but tomato sauce. He was asked by a colleague to stay silent but his flippant words had already angered the crowd.
At 5:30 pm, the Festival Walk announced it was closing early. The police used pepper spray and pepper balls to disperse several hundred people in the mall.
In other districts, there were standoffs between the police and demonstrators. In Mong Kok, a water cannon truck was deployed. In Tuen Mun and Tseung Kwan O, police entered private properties to arrest people.
On Monday, demonstrators plan to block roads and disrupt traffic. University students will boycott classes while labor unions will stage strikes.