More than 70 people have been arrested in Tuen Mun on Wednesday night following a protest over an irritating tear gas smell emanating from a police base.
At least 73 people – mostly residents – were rounded up during Wednesday’s unrest, a lawyer told Stand News. More than 30 of them were sent to Yuen Long police station, and some were sent to Sheung Shui and Tai Po police stations, among others.
It was the second protest of its kind outside the Tai Hing operational base this week after residents blamed a suspected tear gas leak of causing some to feel unwell. Police have denied conducting any tear gas tests at the facility.
The chemical agent has frequently been used throughout Hong Kong’s 21 weeks of protests, triggered by a now-withdrawn extradition bill. Since June, large-scale demonstrations have morphed into sometimes violent displays of dissent over Beijing’s encroachment, alongside calls for democratic reform and accountability for the police’s handling of the crisis.
Several hundred spontaneously gathered outside the facility on Monday night, with some hurling petrol bombs and police firing tear gas in return. Crowds returned on Wednesday night, urging for an explanation of the source of the tear gas smell.
Man Shek Fong-yau, a former police constable known for organising pro-Beijing events, appeared outside the base with approximately 30 people at around 8:30pm. He was seen arguing with residents.
Shek and his group chanted, “Hong Kong cockroaches, the vermin of the times” – a play on the popular pro-democracy slogan, “Liberate Hong Kong, the revolution of our times.” His group also shone flashlights at reporters, obstructing their view.
Police outside the base raised a blue warning flag calling on protesters to disperse and saying that they were participating in an unlawful assembly. An officer told Shek “You can go now,” prompting his group to leave the scene, according to In-media.
Residents refused to leave despite the police warning. One shouted: “Did you fire tear gas on October 28? Explain! Don’t waste our time!”
Around 20 minutes after the police warning, black-clad protesters began to remove handrailings and form roadblocks. Several protesters and plain-clothes members of the public were arrested soon after.
At the lobby of Yat Sang House in Siu Hin Court, police ordered residents to kneel down with their hands in the air or behind their backs.
Some residents shouted, “Corrupt cops, may your whole family die!”.
At around 10pm, a man and a woman appeared to taunt the police by dancing in front of them. The pair entered Dan Yatai, a Japanese restaurant in the area, as officers attempted to chase after them.
【屯門即時】老闆拒警無搜令入舖被捕 疑有男警制服拘捕老闆娘 2250 警方於良德街一間名為「東屋台」的餐廳前，聲稱疑有示威者匿藏在內，要求進內搜查。兩名店主拒絕，表示要有搜查令才可進內。理論期間，警員突然發難推撞店主並作出拘捕，有疑男警員多度拉扯女店員，並將其壓倒在地。其他警員則不斷以強光電筒照射記者，阻擋拍攝。有警員不斷強調為女警作出拘捕和制服，並表示「有啲女警比較大隻啲」。警員最後進入舖內對兩名食客搜身查問，其後獲放行，然而警員未有解釋何以在無合理懷疑及搜查令下強行進入私人店舖。攝/Bun, Chinwa
Posted by 城市廣播 City Broadcasting Channel (CBC) on Wednesday, 30 October 2019
An officer told two of the restaurant’s shopkeepers – also a man and a woman – that the pair inside were suspects and that police had to enter to arrest them. The police threatened to arrest the shopkeepers with obstruction after they refused to allow police to enter.
Officers then pulled the shopkeepers out of the restaurant and arrested them, before ordering the original two suspects to show their identification documents.
Residents continued to gather outside the police base as police attempted to disperse them several times.
At around midnight, protesters hurled petrol bombs at the police base, prompting the police to fire three bean bag rounds from inside the facility, which narrowly missed nearby reporters.
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