China’s state-run tabloid Global Times has quoted the Hong Kong Police Force as condemning a group for “paralyzing traffic to encircle the legislative council,” a day before such events were set to occur.
In a tweet just before 9pm on Tuesday, the paper referred to a police statement released on “Wednesday,” apparently in reference to protester’s plans to enforce a city-wide strike and surround the legislature in protest of the controversial national anthem bill. The bill is set to arrive at the legislative main chamber on Wednesday.
The law, which criminalises insulting the national anthem March of the Volunteers was approved by China’s legislative body in 2017. Violators in China face detention of up to 15 days by police, or criminal prosecution.
“Hong Kong Police condemned the illegal activities of an online organization on Wednesday,” the tweet read, “including paralyzing traffic to encircle the legislative council of the HKSAR, and vowed to conduct strict law-enforcement and show no tolerance for illegal acts.”
The tweet, which remained live for an hour, was spotted by Alvin Cheung: “In which the GT hits “publish” on their prewritten copy a day early,” he tweeted.
He was not the only one entertained by the apparent gaffe. “[D]ude it’s [T]uesday…are you time travelling or what,” asked Twitter user “Murkrow,” whilst others wondered whether the paper was psychic.
However, it appears the mix-up could have occurred after police, on Tuesday, preemptively warned protesters not to block roads on Wednesday: “Police strongly condemn any actions to incite other people to disrupt public order,” they wrote in a statement at 8:38 pm. “Illegal blockage of the roads may jeopardises [sic] road safety and affect road users, hinder emergency services and may even put other people’s life under threat. Police will not tolerate any illegal actions that breach social peace. “
Security preparations have been underway around the legislature, with some surrounding road set to close overnight and water barriers installed around Tim Mei Avenue.