Two people from a bubble tea shop in Mong Kok that is known for its pro-democracy slant were taken away by police on Monday to assist with an investigation.
An employee of Royaltea confirmed with HKFP on Tuesday that the pair – one of whom was owner Jessica Kong – were taken to Mong Kok Police Station on Monday evening. They were not arrested.
It is unclear what investigation they were asked to assist with. Police said it did not comment on individual cases and that it would take action “based on the practical circumstance.”
Another employee who was at the shop when police officers came told HKFP: “It happened very suddenly. We didn’t even have time to clear the food.”
Located on Kwong Wah Street, Royaltea has been vocal about its support for the protests in 2019. The shop’s shutters are painted with a Pepe the Frog character – a symbol of the demonstrations – wearing a yellow hard hat and a T-shirt printed with “Glory to Hong Kong.”
Triggered by a since-axed extradition bill, the protests escalated into sometimes violent displays of dissent against police behaviour amid calls for democracy and anger over Beijing’s encroachment.
A post on Royaltea’s Facebook page on Tuesday read: “Even in the darkness, there is light. We’ve caused people to be concerned. Don’t worry.”
The shop added that it would close for two days and reopen on Thursday.
Royaltea was briefly the subject of online attention last year during the trial of Tong Ying-kit, who became the first person to be convicted under the national security law last July.
The shop’s owner Kong testified in Tong’s trial. A regular Royaltea customer since 2019, Tong told her in April 2020 that he had lost his job and was struggling financially. She wanted to hire the then 23-year-old, according to a local media report, but there were no vacancies at the shop, so she referred him to a wait staff position at a nearby restaurant.
Tong occasionally returned to the bubble tea shop to help out.
Handed nine years in jail, Tong was found guilty of inciting secession and terrorist activities. He had already been detained for over a year since his arrest on July 1, 2020 when he was given his sentence.
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