The courtyards of two residential blocks at a Hong Kong public housing estate have been barricaded a day after after a dozen Chinese national flags were believed to have been vandalised.

Barricaded patio in Lam Shek Estate, Ping Shek Estate on June 27, 2022. Photo: Candice Chau/HKFP.

HKFP visited Lam Shek House and Kam Shek House at Ping Shek Estate in Choi Hung on Monday, and found that the courtyard areas of the two buildings were blocked off by plastic railings and red string displaying signs that read “cleaning in process, do not enter.”

Rows of Chinese national flags and Hong Kong flags in Kam Shek House, Ping Shek Estate, Choi Hung. Photo: Supplied.

The move came after hundreds of national and Hong Kong flags hung ahead of the 25th anniversary of the Handover on July 1 were removed from the two buildings, following reports of suspected vandalism.

National and regional flags removed from Kam Shek House on June 27, 2022. Photo: Candice Chau/HKFP.

Police told HKFP that as of Monday, 12 national flags hung at Lam Shek House were suspected to have been vandalised and one was suspected to have been stolen, while another national flag was also thought to have been stolen from Kam Shek House.

A red rope with a sign that reads “cleaning in process, do not enter” surrounding the patio of Kam Shek House, Ping Shek Estate on June 27, 2022. Photo: Candice Chau/HKFP.

The case is now being investigated by the Criminal Investigation Team Sau Mau Ping District. No arrests have been made yet.

National and regional flags removed from Lam Shek House on June 27, 2022. Photo: Candice Chau/HKFP.

Kowloon East Chaoren Association told the state-managed Ta Kung Pao last Saturday that it had organised the decorations at Ping Shek Estate and planned to hang 11,500 flags across various locations in Hong Kong.

The defaced flags at Ping Shek Estate. Photo: iCable screenshot.

Wish for ‘mega flag’

A Kam Shek House resident told HKFP on Monday that the flags were removed the previous day.

“I think hanging the flags is personal. You can’t say that a person is not patriotic if they don’t put up flags, because everyone’s expression is different,” she said, adding that she wished there was a “mega national flag” hanging down from the building.

“It would be majestic,” she said.

Ms. Yeung showing a HKFP reporter of a photo that she took of the national and regional flags decorations in Ping Shek Estate. Photo: Candice Chau/HKFP.

Another Ping Shek Estate resident, Ms. Yeung, showed HKFP photos of the flags and said that she thought the decorations were beautiful, but she did not know who was responsible for hanging the flags.

She said that the courtyards of the residential buildings were usually not barricaded.

Lam Shek Estate Mutual Aid Committee closed on June 27, 2022. Photo: Candice Chau/HKFP.

Ming Pao reported last Sunday that the flags were removed and stored at Lam Shek House Mutual Aid Committee’s office. Neither of the committees’ offices for Lam Shek House or Kam Shek House were open during HKFP’s visit on Monday.

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Candice Chau

Candice is a reporter at Hong Kong Free Press. She previously worked as a researcher at a local think tank. She has a BSocSc in Politics and International Relations from the University of Manchester and a MSc in International Political Economy from London School of Economics.