Pro-democracy protesters shone lights atop Hong Kong’s iconic Lion Rock on Thursday night despite police deploying to the Kowloon mountaintop. After thwarting National Day protests in Causeway Bay, officers at the popular hiking destination claimed the gathering to be an unauthorised assembly.
Around a hundred people climbed up to Lion Rock peak on what was also Mid-Autumn Festival. Some of them waved flashlights, laser pointers and a flag that read “Liberate Hong Kong, the revolution of our times” – a phrase declared to be illegal by the government.
Entrances to Lion Rock Park were sealed off and anyone entering or exiting the hiking trail was made to register their names with officers.
Wong Tai Sin Station Sergeant Lui Hoi-yat said that those who had gathered may be taking part in an unlawful assembly, i-Cable reported.
Last August 23, Lion Rock – a symbol of the city’s resilience – was lit up by pro-democracy protesters as they organised a human chain on the 30th anniversary of the Baltic Way anti-Soviet demonstrations.
Pro-democracy banners are also often hung from the peak on important protest days.
At least 86 people were arrested on Thursday, the force announced on Facebook – 74 of them allegedly took part in an unauthorised assembly in Causeway Bay. Among them were four district councillors – Fergus Leung, Shun Lee, Lai Tsz-yan and Chan Wan-tung.
Others were arrested on suspicion of possession of offensive weapons, failing to produce proof of identity, possession of a forged identity card, disorderly conduct in a public place and driving an unlicensed vehicle. The force also issued 20 fixed penalty tickets breaches of the Covid-19 group gathering ban.
“Fifteen Operation” – a protest organised through a Telegram channel – failed to materialise on Thursday evening. Beijing’s Liaison Office claimed earlier in the week that organisers were planning “terrorist attacks.”
Reporters nonetheless showed up in Tsuen Wan following posts by the Telegram channel’s administrator. Citizen News reported that a 16-year-old, apparently reporting for an online media outlet, was taken away by the police during a stop-and-search action at around 7pm in a Lo Tak Court back alley.
During the demonstrations in the afternoon, several conflicts between journalists and frontline officers took place in Causeway Bay. An Apple Daily photojournalist claimed that an officer grabbed their backpack and top from behind, causing them to fall. The officer later said he was “just trying to hold them.”
Meanwhile, a Chormedia reporter at a protest scene on Great George Street claimed that a male officer touched her chest during the operation. When she asked for an apology, officers asked the reporter to provide her information or get in a police vehicle for further investigation – a request she declined. The journalist questioned whether the Police and Public Relations Branch officers deliberately allowed the officer in question to leave.