Hundreds joined a “reclaim Tuen Mun Park” protest on Sunday afternoon in opposition to female performers they accuse of causing a disturbance. Some of those in attendance had also attended a nearby protest against a designated coronavirus clinic which has been set up in the district.
Tuen Mun District Councillor Lemon Wong, who was at the scene, told HKFP that around 400-500 had rallied against the long-standing issue of “dai mas” – Cantonese slang for middle-aged women who sing and dance to Putonghua pop songs in the park’s self-entertainment zone.
Protesters held placards that said: “Give me back a quiet park.”
Officers deployed pepper spray from a bridge connecting to the park and made one arrest.
Wong said that officers “provoked the crowd by vigorously shaking pepper spray [cans] and saying ‘I dare you to come forward,’ before raising a blue flag to warn that force may be deployed to disperse them.”
“The crowd did nothing special other than chanting slogans,” he added.
Prior to the rally in the park, some citizens were stopped and searched in the vicinity, though officers would not state whether the park would be closed, according to Stand News.
Protest against designated clinic
Earlier on the same day, District Councillor Alfred Lai of the Democratic Party organised a demonstration against plans to convert Yan Oi Polyclinic into a designated clinic for suspected coronavirus patients without any public consultation.
The police issued a letter of no objection for the march from Tsing Yin Garden to the clinic in Tuen Mun.
First detected in Hubei, China, almost 80,000 people globally have been infected with Covid-19, whilst over 2,600 have died from the SARS-like disease.
Lai said in a press release that 500 residents took part in the rally against the “zero-consultation” proposal that would be 10 metres from local residences.
“Yan Oi Polyclinic cannot conduct speedy tests for the virus, so samples will be sent to Tuen Mun Hospital. [We] suggest using the Rehabilitation Daycare Centre annexed to the Hospital [instead], to tackle the disease more efficiently.”
Similar protests targeting dancing “dai ma” in the area occurred in July and September last year.
A notice in the park posted earlier this month stated that “some facilities of Tuen Mun Park were temporarily closed for cleansing” in light of the coronavirus.
HKFP has reached out to the police for comment.
Rachel Wong previously worked as a documentary producer and academic researcher. She has a BA in Comparative Literature and European Studies from the University of Hong Kong. She has contributed to A City Made by People and The Funambulist, and has an interest in cultural journalism and gender issues.