Five staff members from a Ma On Shan shopping mall – four security guards and a customer service officer – have been arrested on suspicion of obstructing police officers in the execution of their duty.
The police confirmed that three men and two women were arrested in Ma On Shan on Wednesday, aged between 28 and 62, without giving further details.
Guards were at the doors of the MOSTown shopping centre on Monday night as a group of officers in riot gear stormed the building.
The police had said on Tuesday that the officers were at the mall to deal with a report of vandalism to one of the shops, as well as at nearby Ma On Shan MTR Station.
The force reiterated that officers have the power to enter any premises if they believe a crime suspect is inside and they do not need a warrant to do this.
However, Civic Party legislator and barrister, Alvin Yeung, said the law specifies that the police "are not allowed to enter into private premises to simply do any investigations... They have to have a clear idea who they want to arrest."
"If this police force doesn't know the law, study [it] before they [make] any mistake", he added.
Yeung said in his view, by making the arrests, police are trying to intimidate security guards at other private premises into letting officers in whenever they wish.
Several hundred people gathered at the mall on Wednesday evening following an online appeal, to demand the immediate release of the arrested guards.
They chanted slogans calling for the police force to be disbanded, accusing officers of abusing their power. Some people also started up a signature campaign to urge the mall's managers not to sack the arrested guards.
A group of riot police showed up at the mall at one point, but left quickly after people started heckling them.
The shops at MOSTown had closed early at 7pm.
Henderson Land, which owns the mall, said the shopping centre will remain closed this weekend to "prevent conflicts".
It said the incident on Monday night was ‘regrettable’, but offered no further comment, citing the possibility of pending legal proceedings.
A group of people angry with the arrests gathered outside the Ma On Shan police station late in the evening, but most left peacefully after police inside told the crowd that the arrested guards have been released on bail.
A group of officers emerged from the station at one point to try to disperse the protesters, but did not use force or make any arrests.
Last updated: 2019-10-09 HKT 23:46
Five mall staff arrested over police raid
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