Protests halt Christmas shopping at Sha Tin mall - RTHK
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Protests halt Christmas shopping at Sha Tin mall

2019-12-15 HKT 14:48
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  • Protests halt Christmas shopping at Sha Tin mall
  • A woman has been taken to hospital, but there were no details about her injuries. Photo: RTHK
    A woman has been taken to hospital, but there were no details about her injuries. Photo: RTHK
  • Smoke wafts across an entrance to the MTR, apparently from a home-made device. Photo: RTHK
    Smoke wafts across an entrance to the MTR, apparently from a home-made device. Photo: RTHK
  • Protesters spraypainted revolutionary slogans in the mall. Photo: RTHK
    Protesters spraypainted revolutionary slogans in the mall. Photo: RTHK
  • Most shops closed after the protests. Photo: RTHK
    Most shops closed after the protests. Photo: RTHK
A protest turned violent at a Sha Tin mall on Sunday afternoon as black-clad demonstrators vandalised restaurants, smashed up glass barriers, and confronted people with apparently conflicting opinions at the New Town Plaza shopping centre.

Early in the afternoon, a woman was spray-painted in the face and another fell down, after apparently trying to stop demonstrators from spraying graffiti at the shopping mall.

The woman who fell down was taken to hospital, while the other was left wiping black paint from her face, while expressing her outrage to reporters about how she was treated.

“I saw them spraying graffiti, and told them to stop. I didn’t tell them what my political stance was, but they shouldn’t spray me like that”, she told reporters.

“Did they ask me what my political stance is? Even if I support them… if they treat me like this, they’re garbage!” she added.

Later in the afternoon, masked protesters stormed into restaurants operated by the Maxims group inside the mall, spraying paint on the walls and flipping tables over.

Customers fled as the establishments were vandalised, then closed.

Police then entered, arresting at least five people at the scene. One officer deployed pepper spray after a man dressed in black approached the plainclothes police.

Some police officers were seen pointing their non-lethal weapons up at protesters after some threw a bag of rubbish and water down at them. Police also said a smoke bomb went off in the bus terminal outside the mall as they retreated.

At around 6.30pm, a crowd of people surrounded a middle-aged woman who they accused of taking close-up photos of protesters.

They ended up repeatedly smashing her phone on the ground, as the woman stood by.

She told reporters she wasn’t intentionally taking close-up photos, and was just shooting pictures of an “interesting scene”, as there were a lot of people there.

“I have the freedom to take pictures,” she said. “You’re not the police, you’re just normal people! You have no right to tell me to let you see what pictures I took.”

Most shops closed early amid the chaos.

One elderly woman RTHK spoke to was unable to buy groceries at the mall as planned because of the protest. She was not impressed by the disruption.

“They shouldn’t protest in shopping malls… After all, there are so many people here. Shops are just trying to do business and they want to ruin their business. What’s the point? If they are against the government, that's one thing… Don’t vandalise the mall,” she said.

One protester, Stephanie, admitted that the protests in Sha Tin and other malls across the territory – dubbed “Christmas shopping with you” – had little to do with spreading Christmas cheer.

"Christmas shopping is not literally shopping in the shopping mall. It's just that we want to gather enough people to bring pressure on stores [so] that they will close down. That's the ultimate goal," she said.


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Last updated: 2019-12-15 HKT 19:13