Masked men attacked onlookers in Fortress Hill in the early hours of Sunday as they tried to tear down a neighbourhood pro-democracy “Lennon Wall” message board.
Meanwhile, police conducted stop-and-search operations in multiple districts following a protest on Saturday evening which turned violent.
At around 12:30am, around five men ripped up messages posted on a Lennon Wall outside an exit of Fortress Hill MTR station. The men – one of whom wielded a PVC pipe – attacked onlookers who told them to stop.
One of the assailants also took a phone from a person trying to film the incident, and punched the man when he tried to take the phone back. The masked men then fled towards North Point.
Four people were wounded in the incident, according to Fortress Hill community worker Jason Chan. No arrests have been made yet, and the case has been listed as “assault occasioning actual bodily harm.”
On Saturday night, police were seen checking passengers on buses in Wan Chai, Causeway Bay and Hung Hom, including on multiple cross-harbour buses.
Thousands of protesters had gathered in Admiralty earlier in the evening to mark the fifth anniversary of the start of the pro-democracy Umbrella Movement.
On September 28, 2014, riot police fired 87 canisters of tear gas at the protesters occupying Harcourt Road. Subsequent anger over the police action helped trigger the 79-day-long movement.
Protesters threw Molotov cocktails on Saturday, as well as bricks targeting the windows of the government headquarters, as police officers used tear spray and water cannon in response.
Though police had given permission for the Saturday gathering to take place at Tamar Park, it ended early owing to the unrest near the Chief Executive’s Office.
Earlier tonight protesters in Hong Kong beat up someone who came with a Chinese flag pic.twitter.com/c1zyT76aPI
— Nathan VanderKlippe (@nvanderklippe) September 28, 2019
In an clip posted by the Globe and Mail’s Nathan VanderKlippe, some black-clad protesters were also seen beating a man who wielded a Chinese national flag.
Bus passengers searched
After protesters were driven by riot police from Admiralty, police conducted a large-scale manhunt across Hong Kong Island. About 20 passengers were ordered off a bus in Wan Chai for body searches, with officers photographing the belongings.
Officers were also stationed near the Cross-Harbour Tunnel toll plaza in Hung Hom and stopped buses that came from Admiralty. RTHK reported that one young man was handcuffed and taken away after zip ties and a helmet were found in his possession.
Meanwhile, Causeway Bay saw a large police presence near the SOGO department store, with some officers conducting searches on buses.
Officers were met with an angry crowd after they surrounded two young women and asked for their identification. Onlookers shouted slogans at police and told them to “call it a night.”
In a statement, the government strongly condemned the “violent and vandalistic acts of the radical protesters.”
The protesters “blocked roads, vandalised public property and set fires in the vicinity of the Central Government Offices as well as attacked the CGO and police officers at the scene with bricks and petrol bombs, disrupting the traffic and damaging the building, jeopardising the safety of the police officers at the scene and seriously breaching the public peace,” a spokesperson said.
Sunday is set to see more protests, with solidarity rallies taking place worldwide.
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