Sham Shui Po saw tear gas for the third time in nine days as Hong Kong police sought to clear a protest marking the Lunar Calendar’s Hungry Ghost Festival.

Photo: May James/HKFP.

Protesters and residents had gathered outside the local police station on Wednesday evening, burning joss paper, chanting and shining laser pens into the complex.

Photo: May James/HKFP.

Some burnt images of Chief Executive Carrie Lam and police chief Stephen Lo to mark the traditional Buddhist and Taoist festival where it is believed the deceased visit the living.

Photo: May James/HKFP.

They were rallying against apparent police brutality at recent anti-government protesters, including incidents on Sunday where an activist lost an eye and police shot projectiles inside an MTR station.

Photo: May James/HKFP.

Shortly before 9:45pm, police began firing tear gas canisters into the crowd from the complex, despite the scene remaining largely peaceful.

Photo: May James/HKFP.

Riot police officers then advanced out of the station and marched north through the inner streets while firing further rounds.

Photo: May James/HKFP.

After finding few protesters gathered when they reached Castle Peak Road, they retreated onto police vehicles.

Photo: May James/HKFP.

Several residents suffered the effects of tear gas.

Photo: May James/HKFP.

Tear gas also affected passengers within the nearby MTR station.

Photo: May James/HKFP.

A resident on Pei Ho Street, who did not give a name, told iCable that she tried to close the windows of her flat, but was not fast enough: “The smell [of tear gas] still came in,” she said.

Photo: May James/HKFP.

Another resident said the decision to fire tear gas was a poor one: “[Police] told us to move away, but how do we move away when we have babies to tend to? I can’t escape even if I had a space shuttle,” she said.

Photo: May James/HKFP.

Protesters gathered again outside the police station to continue their demonstration shortly after 11pm.

Photo: May James/HKFP.

Some graffitied the walls of the complex.

Photo: May James/HKFP.

The low-income dense residential district in Kowloon has been the site of clashes since last Tuesday.

Photo: May James/HKFP.

The station was first targetted after a Baptist University student leader was arrested nearby for possession of offensive weapons when he bought 10 laser pens.

Photo: May James/HKFP.

When residents surrounded the police station demanding his release, police dispersed them with tear gas. The student was later released.

Photo: May James/HKFP.

Tear gas was again fired in Sham Shui Po on Sunday after protesters carried on with a demonstration that police had banned.

Photo: May James/HKFP.

Similar Hungry Ghost Festival protests also took place on Wednesday evening near several police stations across Hong Kong, including in Tin Shui Wai and Tai Po.

Photo: May James/HKFP.

At least five arrests – according to HK01 – were made when riot police advanced out of Tin Shui Wai police station in the northwestern New Territories on Wednesday night.

Photo: May James/HKFP.

Police also patrolled Sheung Shui – and later Tai Po – conducting stop and searches of passers-by.

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