A group of at least 20 unidentified people tore down pro-democracy posters and messages posted around the University of Hong Kong’s Pokfulam campus on Saturday night, according to student-run CampusTV.

Arriving on campus at around 7pm, the group of mostly middle-aged individuals left the “Lennon Wall” in tatters, with trails of paper lining the walkway.

Lennon walls september destroyed University Street HKU
Photo: CampusTV, HKUSU.

In a video shared on social media, one of the group referred to themselves as “a group of ordinary Hong Kong citizens” who “did not want their children to attend an unclean institution.” She said in the clip that the group had not been paid any money for their actions and were not from any particular organisation.

In another video, one of the group members can be heard saying “we are clearing Hong Kong of its rubbish.”

Several security officers employed by the university were also present on the scene.

A few hours after the incident, the university’s student union condemned the group’s actions, saying it will not back down to tyranny and will defend freedom of speech on campus. It also called on the University of Hong Kong to “stand alongside students…”

University to investigate

According to CampusTV, a spokesperson for university said that “the school is looking into the incident, the school’s management and security measures.” The spokesperson also said the university “does not rule out the possibility of holding the persons involved responsible.”

The destroyed boards lined a walkway known as Upper University Street, which is easily accessible from the university’s subway stations.

The union announced plans to rebuild the walls on Tuesday.

Lennon walls september destroyed University Street HKU
Photo: CampusTV, HKUSU.

Inspired by the John Lennon wall in Prague, Lennon Walls have been commonly used by pro-democracy protesters since the 2014 Umbrella Movement to display messages supporting the movement.

Lennon Walls have long been sites of contention between opposing factions of Hong Kong’s democracy movement. Saturday marked the second incident of its kind at the university in the space of ten weeks. In mid-July, a similar scene played out at the same spot, with at least nine individuals tearing down previous iterations of the Lennon Walls.

Rhoda Kwan is HKFP's Assistant Editor. She has previously written for TimeOut Hong Kong and worked at Meanjin, a literary journal. She holds a double bachelor’s degree in Law and Literature from the University of Hong Kong.