Five staff members of staff from a Ma On Shan mall arrested on suspicion of obstruction of police have been released on bail.

The five, including a customer service officer and four security guards, were arrested on Wednesday after they tried to block the doors of the MOSTown mall near the MTR station as riot police attempted to enter. The police say they were pursuing protesters when the incident took place on Monday.

Mass protests took place on Monday in multiple districts as the pro-democracy movement entered its 18th week. After news of the arrests broke on Wednesday night, hundreds gathered at the mall in protest and in support of the staff members.

“The security guards did nothing wrong, release the guards,” they chanted. “Disband the police force now.”

Ms Chui, a resident who held a banner in support of the guards, told Ming Pao that the arrests were unreasonable: “The police arrested them to act as an example to scare off others,” she said.

Mr Ho, another resident, told the newspaper that the guards were brave: “What other malls have guards like them who dared to do that?” he said.

Hundreds then gathered outside Ma On Shan police station in protest, with some standing on roads to block access. The police urged protesters to leave and warned action may be taken if protesters committed violent acts.

At around 10:40pm, riot police rushed out of the police station in an attempt to disperse protesters. They returned to the station minutes later.

Chris Mak, a district councillor for the area, confirmed at 11:20pm that the five guards had been released on bail. He urged protesters to leave if they were satisfied with the result, so that police would not have a reason to use force. Most residents left 20 minutes later.

Henderson Land, which runs the MOSTown mall, said it deeply regretted the incident on Monday, but could not give further comment as legal proceedings were underway.

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Kris Cheng

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.