Thousands gathered outside Pacific Place mall in Admiralty on Monday night to pay tribute to a protester who died a year ago.

Photo: Studio Incendo.

Anti-extradition law protester Marco Leung fell to his death from a podium at the mall last June 15 as he demonstrated against the ill-fated legislation.

Photo: Studio Incendo.

Leung became a protest icon after his banner laid out the five main demands of the movement.

Photo: Tam Ming Keung/United Social Press.

The yellow poncho that Leung wore at the time of his death also became an emblem during the year-long demonstrations and unrest, as protesters demanded an independent probe into the police conduct, amnesty for those arrested, a halt to the characterisation of protests as “riots” and full democracy.

“Today we mourn for Leung. Tomorrow we mourn for freedom.” Photo: Jimmy Lam/United Social Press.

“Today we mourn for Leung. Tomorrow we mourn for freedom,” a message among a pile of white memorial flowers read on Monday.

“Not one less.” Photo: Rachel Wong/HKFP.

Around the sea of floral tributes, handwritten messages were scattered around the area with one that said: “Not one less.”

Photo: Tam Ming Keung/United Social Press.

A yellow poncho with message that read: “He was killed by tyranny” was displayed at an advertisement light box.

Photo: Tam Ming Keung, Jimmy Lam, Kevin Cheng, Benjamin Yuen, Joshua Kwan/United Social Press.

As night fell, a large sea of black-clad protesters holding flowers formed long queues in front of the mall waiting to pay their respects.

By around 8pm, the queue snaked up towards Mid-levels, along Hong Kong Park through to the Peak Tram Lower Terminus.

Photo: Studio Incendo.

Aside from the long queues outdoors, protesters also gathered inside the mall to chant slogans such as “Hong Kong independence, the only way out” as they sang the protest anthem “Glory to Hong Kong.”

Photo: Tam Ming Keung/United Social Press.

Some protesters also waved flags that read “Hong Kong independence” and “We are not rioters.”

Photo: Studio Incendo.

The shopping mall broadcast a public announcement throughout the evening that requested crowds to leave, citing the Covid-19 group gathering ban.

Several yellow ponchos – each written with the names and ages of those who died during the protests – were hung inside the mall.

Yellow ponchos with names and age of those who died during the protests are displayed. Photo: Tam Ming Keung/United Social Press.

Protesters distributed white ribbons for memorial participants to pin on their clothes. Others displayed posters and infographics about a vote that is set to take place this Saturday on whether to go on strike over the impending national security law.

Protesters distribute white ribbons and display posters which promote the general strike referendum on June 20, 2020. Photo: Rachel Wong/HKFP.

Ms Chiu, an attendee, wore a black t-shirt that read “1/2,000,001” – a reference to Leung and the historic two million marchers, who organisers say turned up to a protest the day after his death.

Ms Chiu. Photo: Rachel Wong/HKFP.

“Leung sacrificed his life as he insisted [on] the protest five demands,” Chiu told HKFP. “Hongkongers’ resistance morale is heightening and we are building up this solidarity day by day.”

“Liberate Hong Kong, the revolution of our times” and “We are not rioters” the flags read. A yellow poncho, white flower and yellow helmet are displayed on the floor. Photo: Rachel Wong/HKFP.

Activist Sunny Cheung was also among the crowd queuing to pay tribute. He told HKFP that he thought Leung’s death was very heavy and served as a wake up call for Hongkongers to realise that fighting for democracy required huge sacrifices.

Sunny Cheung. Photo: Rachel Wong/HKFP.

“You can’t kill us all. They can use those ridiculous and absurd policies to ban us from having rallies, but they can’t really change our mind,” Cheung told HKFP. He added that he thought the thousands who turned up sent a strong message to the government: “We are so determined and united to fight for what we want. And we can give assurance that, even if the government is going to do whatever they want – to repress us by all means – we won’t give up.”

Ray Chan. Photo: Rachel Wong/HKFP.

Pro-democracy lawmaker Ray Chan told HKFP that he saw hope among the memorial participants: “The government may think that one year has passed and Hong Kong people will forget [about] the evil bill, but you see most Hong Kong people here will not forget,” he said. “We are still fighting for the five demands.”

Photo: Studio Incendo.

A heavy police presence remained in the area throughout the night. The force wrote on Facebook that they would take resolute action, claiming the scene was an unauthorised assembly. “Please disperse peacefully and stop all unlawful acts,” they wrote.

Photo: Rachel Wong/HKFP.

The crowd dispersed peacefully when the last person in the queue paid tribute at around 11:30pm.

Lam video message

As protesters gathered, the government published a video message from Chief Executive Carrie Lam in which she condemned protesters and urged Hongkongers to support the looming national security law.

“Over the past year, the Hong Kong community has been traumatised. Violence by rioters has escalated, with illegal firearms and explosives posing a terrorist threat,” she said. “Groups and individuals advocating “Hong Kong independence” and colluding with foreign forces to interfere with Hong Kong’s affairs have seriously undermined national interests and security.”

“R.I.P ONE COUNTRY TWO SYSTEMS 1997-2020” and “R.I.P Rule of Law 1842-1997” the messages on lightboxes read. Photo: Rachel Wong/HKFP.

Beijing has revealed plans to promulgate laws to prevent, stop and punish behaviours in Hong Kong that it deems a threat to national security. The laws will likely be inserted into the city’s mini-constitution, bypassing the local legislature, in order to criminalise subversion, secession, foreign interference and terrorism. The move has alarmed democrats, civil society groups and trade partners, as such laws have been used broadly to silence and punish dissidents in China.

Additional reporting: Tom Grundy.

If you are experiencing negative feelings, please call: The Samaritans 2896 0000 (24-hour, multilingual), Suicide Prevention Centre 2382 0000 or the Social Welfare Department 2343 2255. The Hong Kong Society of Counselling and Psychology provides a WhatsApp hotline in English and Chinese: 6218 1084. See also: HKFP’s comprehensive guide to mental health services in Hong Kong


Rachel Wong

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.