Dozens of people appeared at Cafe Seasons in Central on Tuesday afternoon to show support for its owner Ian Lai, who was arrested along with his father, media tycoon Jimmy Lai, a day ago.
Cafe Seasons on Des Voeux Rd Central opened half of its seats for dine-in, complying with the social distancing measures, while most of the customers queued up to buy takeaways.
The queue of lunch-goers stretched into a long line along the pavement nearby, providing curious passers-by the chance to take photos of the crowded scene.
Most of the customers said they turned up to show support for the arrested owner and his family members, who were detained by police on suspicion of breaking the new security law and fraud.
“I think the number of people buying lunch at Cafe Seasons is somehow a poll which reflects our opinions, Hong Kong people’s opinion," said Chan, a woman in her 30s who said she works in the area.
"As you can see, the queue is so long that people have to wait for more than half an hour. It’s a poll, in which people cast their votes for freedom.”
“Hong Kong people will never give up. We will use all possible ways to express our views,” Chan said, “I will buy Apple Daily and have lunch at Cafe Seasons every day to show my support.”
“It’s a symbolic support coming here to buy our meals,” another woman surnamed Leung said. “I feel so happy seeing this.”
Cafe Seasons was searched by police on Monday after they arrested the media tycoon and his two sons, Timothy and Ian.
Lines of people were seen outside the restaurant well past the lunch hour, well into the evening before the establishment reduced its service to takeaways at 6pm as per the coronavirus restrictions.
Copies of the Apple Daily newspaper were also sold out in many shops after social media messages calling for support surfaced after the arrests and raid.
Shares of Apple Daily's parent company, Next Media, also soared to record levels after investors brought them up, in an apparent show of support for the firm.
Last updated: 2020-08-11 HKT 18:25
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