Ventus Lau, the organiser of Saturday’s march in Kwun Tong, has been arrested on suspicion of unlawful assembly after clashes erupted at the protest.

According to his media contact group, activist Lau and other volunteers were not arrested at the scene of clashes, and did not possess any protective gear. The march itself had received a letter of no objection from the police.

Ventus Lau
Ventus Lau. File photo: Holmes Chan/HKFP.

“Lau criticises the police and the government for doing all they can to suppress the peaceful expression of demands by the public,” said the media group spokesperson.

“They used the offence of unlawful assembly to arrest the organisers and volunteers of the lawful assembly… He adds that his arrest is of little importance, and hopes that the public can pay attention to others who have been charged with more serious offences and the injured.”

Whilst Saturday’s march was largely peaceful, a number of protesters began building barricades near Ngau Tau Kok police station and vandalised several “smart lampposts” that have raised privacy and surveillance concerns. Petrol bombs and bricks were also thrown as police fired tear gas.

kwun tong china extradition august 24
Photo: May James/HKFP.

Following the clashes in Kwun Tong and Kowloon Bay, some protesters relocated to Wong Tai Sin, where they began occupying the Lung Cheung Road thoroughfare. Tear gas was again fired by police at around 9pm to disperse them, but a standoff with local residents continued into the night.

The next target was Sham Shui Po, where around 100 protesters began blocking roads leading to the local police station. They scattered into the inner streets after riot police charged.

kwun tong china extradition august 24
Photo: May James/HKFP.

MTR shuttle

During the clashes on Saturday, commuters spotted police taking a train from Choi Hung towards the direction of Kowloon Bay – despite the MTR having closed four stations in the vicinity of the protests at noon.

The MTR told RTHK that the rail operator called the police after seeing the gates to Kowloon Bay station vandalised. “The police were arranged to take the train to deal with the situation in Kowloon Bay because the traffic conditions at road-level were not suitable,” it said.

The four closed stations – Kowloon Bay, Ngau Tau Kok, Kwun Tong and Lam Tin – were re-opened at 11:45pm on Saturday.

Police on the MTR
Police on the MTR at Choi Hung. Photo: Online.

Kowloon Bay row

Meanwhile, in the Richland Gardens residential complex in Kowloon Bay, angry residents surrounded the management office after it urgently changed the passcodes to each block on Saturday afternoon.

“The office has immediately changed the passcodes to all buildings to ensure safety after it discovered that the passcodes have been revealed online,” read a notice.

Some Telegram groups have been circulating passcodes to different residential buildings to allow protesters to flee indoors during police operations.

Kowloon Bay August 25
Richland Gardens clashes.

But the office added it would not inform residents of the new code until Monday, leaving many locked out of their homes unless they brought their residents’ ID card or were recognised by security guards.

Some residents shouted “are you colluding with the police?” and “we will stop paying management fees.”

At around 11pm, a management office staffer called the police, and dozens arrived. Police deployed pepper spray against residents, injuring legislator Jeremy Tam who was on the scene.

Richland Gardens jeremy tam
Jeremy Tam after being pepper-sprayed. Photo: Jeremy Tam via Facebook.

Two residents were arrested in the incident, reported Apple Daily.

Residents have promised to not pay management fees unless the office provides an explanation by Sunday.

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Elson Tong

Elson Tong

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