The Friday evening vigil planned by the pro-independence Hong Kong National Party was relocated to Kowloon Tong’s Baptist University amid heavy police presence at the original venue in Tsim Sha Tsui.

The group had planned to mourn the “fall” of Hong Kong on the 20th anniversary of its transfer of sovereignty at the Clock Tower tourist site at 8:30pm. But the police issued a formal ban on the event last Friday, and an urgent appeal by the group failed.

An attempt by convener Chan Ho-tin to relocate the event to the nearby Tsim Sha Tsui East Centenary Garden last-minute was unsuccessful.

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An attempt by convener Chan Ho-tin to relocate the event to the nearby Tsim Sha Tsui East Centenary Garden at the last minute was unsuccessful. Over 100 police officers were present at the garden on Friday evening, according to Stand News.

In a Facebook post, the Hong Kong National Party said Chan was warned by the police not to set up a rally, or risk arrest.

The police’s formal ban on the rally issued last Friday cited both public order regulations and possible violations of the Basic Law – the city’s mini-constitution. Chan called the ban “unconstitutional.”

‘Abuse of power’

The Hong Kong National Party and the presidents of several university student unions – who were guest speakers – eventually relocated to Baptist University, where they protested against what they called an abuse of power by the police.

Shue Yan University president Lau Chak-fung said the police gave “strange” explanations as to why they wanted to check his bag or view the contents of his mobile phone as he approached Tsim Sha Tsui.

“For example, when I refused to let them see the contents of my phone, they said they would arrest me for stealing the phone,” he said. “They said the phone wasn’t mine.”

The Baptist University press conference. Photo: Hong Kong National Party via Facebook.

“Then they said they suspected there was child pornography in my phone.”

Despite the cancellation of the rally, 200 pro-Beijing protesters insulted foreign journalists gathered in Tsim Sha Tsui, calling them “bastards,” reported Next Media.

The Baptist University rally took place peacefully and lasted until around 11pm on Friday evening.

Elson Tong

Elson Tong is a graduate of international relations and former investigations consultant. He has also written for Stand News.