Hong Kong police deployed tear gas on Thursday night as crowds gathered in at least four districts in protest, following the police shooting of a student protester on October 1.
Riot police fired tear gas and pepper spray in the affluent Tai Koo neighbourhood at around 11pm, as a few hundred people blocked roads and shouted slogans. At least one man was taken away by police.
Spontaneous protests were sighted in at least 12 spots, with fierce clashes taking place in Tai Koo and Tuen Mun. The MTR – which has been accused by protesters of aiding police – also continued to be a target of vandalism.
At around 10:15pm, protesters entered Kwun Tong MTR station and were seen smashing glass, turnstile machines and advertising lightboxes. At Tai Koo station, other protesters damaged the CCTV and the escalator. Both stations were later closed, along with Tai Po Market and Ngau Tau Kok stations.
MTR Operations Director Adi Lau said on Friday that the rail operator faced a mounting challenge as protesters had escalated the degree of their vandalism. Some protesters would throw Molotov cocktails at station exits and misuse the emergency exits on trains.
Some facilities had also run out of spare parts, resulting in longer waits for passengers, Lau added.
On Thursday night, police also said that violent protesters “paralysed traffic between Kowloon and Tuen Mun,” after barricades were erected along Tuen Mun Road, Tuen Mun Rural Committee Road and Tuen Hing Road near Tuen Mun Town Hall.
Protesters also broke glass and vandalised the exterior of the Tuen Mun Government Offices.
Hong Kong has seen over 17 consecutive weeks of protest sparked by a now-scrapped extradition bill which would have enabled fugitive transfers to China.
The citywide unrest on Tuesday – which took place as the People’s Republic of China celebrated its 70th anniversary – further escalated after police shot an 18-year-old student protester in the chest, narrowly missing his heart.
Clashes in Tai Koo
Police fired tear gas in Tai Koo at around 10pm and 11pm, after a group of protesters vandalised the MTR station and occupied King’s Road.
Some residents shouted insults at police, and mocked them by saying officers “could not afford to buy property” in Tai Koo. The comment was a rebuke to a police officer who, during an October 2 protest in Tai Wai, told protesters: “You live in public housing, you have no status.”
Crowds gathered at the Cityplaza shopping mall around 8pm, which led some of the restaurants in the mall to close. The food and catering conglomerate Maxim’s has become a target for protesters after the daughter of the company’s founder denounced the pro-democracy movement at the United Nations.
Separately, crowds also gathered in Shatin, Yuen Long, Tseung Kwan O, Whampoa, Tai Po Market MTR station and outside the Mong Kok police station.
At the Yoho Mall in Yuen Long, crowds were seen gathering outside Maxim’s-owned restaurants and chanting slogans.
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