A demonstrator throws a rock on a footbridge during an anti-government protest near City University in Kowloon Tong, Hong Kong, on Tuesday. Photo: REUTERS/Thomas Peter
world

Hong Kong police fire tear gas as chaos grips city

35 Comments
By Clare Jim and Marius Zaharia

A flash mob sprang up in the heart of Hong Kong's financial center on Tuesday, hours after police fired tear gas at a university campus and territory-wide transport disruptions wreaked commuter havoc in the Chinese-ruled city.

More than 1,000 protesters, many wearing office clothes and face masks, rallied in the Central business district for a second day, blocking roads below some of the city's tallest skyscrapers and most expensive real estate.

Some crouched behind umbrellas as riot police stood by.

Others chanted "Fight for freedom, stand with Hong Kong" and "Five demands, not one less", referring to calls for universal suffrage and an independent probe into perceived police brutality, among other demands.

"Let's stop focusing on the result. The result is all this chaos and madness but what is the root cause? We don’t have a fully democratic system," said one demonstrator, a 25-year-old property manager wearing a white shirt, black suit pants and a black face mask who gave his name as Roy.

"We want to enjoy air-conditioning and a beer with friends. No Hong Konger wants this (violence), but the government is forcing us to take things to such a dramatic (level)," he said.

Police fired tear gas on Monday in Central, where some protesters also blocked narrow streets lined with banks, top-brand shopping malls and jewelry shops, most of which had pulled down their shutters.

There were chaotic scenes earlier on Tuesday as people thronged metro stations only to stream out shortly after, clogging footpaths as they queued for buses or alternative transport after some train services were suspended.

Some roads were closed in the morning with long traffic jams building during rush hour, a day after some of the worst violence to rock the former British colony. A protester was shot by police and a man set on fire on Monday.

Riot police were deployed at metro stations across the territory, while rail operator MTR Corp urged people to use other forms of transport.

"It is very inconvenient for me because I have a few meetings to go to in Central," said a 38-year-old man who gave his name as Rodney and who works as a legal consultant for an international firm.

"Hopefully my partners will understand that my city is going through a tough period," he said, adding that he blames Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam for the protests.

Passengers streamed out of at least one train that was forced to stop when barricades blocked the rail line.

Universities and schools cancelled classes, with students, teachers and parents on edge a day after police fired tear gas and students hurled petrol bombs on some campuses.

Lam said protesters who tried to paralyze the city were being extremely selfish and hoped that universities and schools would urge students not to take part in the demonstrations.

More than 260 people were arrested on Monday, police said, bringing the total number to more than 3,000 since the protests escalated in June.

The metro station at Sai Wan Ho on eastern Hong Kong island, where a 21-year-old protester was shot at close range on Monday, was among those closed.

Lam said on Monday the violence had exceeded protesters' demands for democracy and demonstrators were now the people's enemy.

Protesters are angry about what they see as police brutality and meddling by Beijing in the freedoms guaranteed under the"one country, two systems" formula put in place when the territory returned to Chinese rule in 1997.

China denies interfering and has blamed Western countries, including Britain and the United States, for stirring up trouble.

The United States condemned the unjustified use of deadly force in the latest violence and urged police and citizens to de-escalate the crisis.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus also urged Beijing to honor its commitments that Hong Kong would enjoy a high degree of autonomy and human rights, including freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.

Protesters clashed with police into the early hours of Tuesday after fierce skirmishes throughout Monday, when more than 100 people were injured.

Many workers were sent home early on Monday and shops and restaurants shut by the evening as the violence escalated, piling further pressure on an economy that entered a recession in the third quarter for the first time in a decade.

An editorial in the state-backed China Daily newspaper condemned the violence on Monday and took aim at the "leniency of Hong Kong judges".

"Allowing (protesters) to apply for bail on easy terms and handing down extraordinarily light sentences has also served to encourage inhuman terrorist acts," it said.

© (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2019.

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

35 Comments
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Lam is overplaying her hand.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Having to choose between siding with the protesters or siding with the Chi-comm government, is like having to pick between getting a spinal fusion or getting a complete spinal reconstruction.

Both are terrible options and cause only misery and pain for a long time.

Destroying the livelihood of your fellow citizens and engaging in wanton acts of violence and destruction are neither praiseworthy nor 'noble' of actions.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

̶H̶o̶n̶g̶ ̶K̶o̶n̶g̶ ̶p̶o̶l̶i̶c̶e̶ Chinese soldiers fire tear gas

Fixed it for ya. We can assume by now that China has slowly moved in to wreak havoc. What is going on there and the mass silence of the rest of the world ignoring it is horrible. The world is to addicted to cheap Chinese labor and HK is paying the price. This won't end well.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

oldman_13 So what would you like the protestors to do? Smile and wave? Hold hands around a completely safe LED artificial campfire and sing Kumbayah? Start manufacturing precision weapons in their basements and only attack the "right" targets while dying for a freedom they won't see cause they will get gunned down in the process?

We have had enough "don'ts" from you to last us for years to come. Just tell us exactly what you think they should do please.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Seems Lam has fully come out as a Chinese puppet "Lam said on Monday the violence had exceeded protesters' demands for democracy and demonstrators were now the people's enemy." per the article and her words.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

US has been adding fuel and lighting that fire for a while now , CIA is fully involved and it is meant to pressure and trigger China.

I do blame China for not seeing it earlier and crushing the whole thing from the very start , but it seems China is not overly concerned .. because the more chaos is there , the better their own economic zone looks like and the shittier HK will become.

I can bet majority of agitators, as always in every civil unrest in the world are directly paid by CIA / NSA .

My only personal worry is for my HK friends , real locals who just lose business and future prospects because of this ...

-7 ( +3 / -10 )

@papigiulio "the mass silence of the rest of the world ignoring it"

HK chaos has been in the news 24/7 for 5 months. What's being entirely ignored is the chaos and protestor deaths in Haiti, Kashmir, Chile, Catalan, Venezuela, Bolivia.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

So what would you like the protestors to do?

It's obviously too late now, but they could have just waited out the PRC. Time was entirely on their side. There would have been far more opportune times to launch this between now and 2047.

They could have waited for an economic crisis where China would be weaker, when there would be more sympathy from mainlanders, when there would be other protest and separatist movements brewing in China, when a Gorbachev-style reformer might come to power in the CCP, when there would be better allies in the west. Launching a full frontal violent assault against a united China at the height of its economic and political power was foolish and suicidal, especially with violence. They had one shot at this and they blew it. History will remember the violence and disruption and nobody in HK is ever going to support another attempt at this.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

These protestors seem to be quite geared up. Wonder who their benefactors are?

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

A protester was shot by police and a man set on fire on Monday.

Standard propaganda wordplay.

One case (what the government did) is written in the active voice, the other case (what the protesters did) is written in the passive voice. They're hoping callous readers associate both acts of violence as having been done by the police.

The Czechs won global sympathy and the moral high ground in 1968 when they refused to meet violence with violence and they succeeded in defeating Socialism in 1989 by facing down cops with flowers and baked cookies from grandma.

Czechs now enjoy freedom and a clear historical conscience.

Burning people and smashing windows with metal bars is not the right thing to do.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

One case (what the government did) is written in the active voice, the other case (what the protesters did) is written in the passive voice.

No, that's incorrect.

You've admitted in the past that English isn't your strong point. You should maybe keep that in mind.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

The Czechs won global sympathy and the moral high ground in 1968 when they refused to meet violence with violence .

This isn't accurate at all. It is funny how you've begun including this in your criticisms of the HK protesters after itbwas pointed out to you that 68 was more akin to what is happening in HK now than 89.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

1968 was a military invasion, 1989 was a citizens revolution against socialism.

1989 is a better analogy.

In either case, the Czechs never resorted to metal bars, masks and smashing windows.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

In either case, the Czechs never resorted to metal bars, masks and smashing windows.

Inaccurate.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

1968 was a military invasion, 1989 was a citizens revolution against socialism.

This is also inaccurate. The citizens were protesting authoritarianism advertised as communism.

Why is accuracy so hard for some?

1 ( +6 / -5 )

In 1956 the Soviet tanks rolled into Hungry to crush the uprising by the people. It was a brutal end.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

In 1920, the Bolshevik Army were sent into the Ukraine to crush the anarchist revolution led by  Nestor Makhno.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Alexander Einz should the Chinese go to have crushed it earlier like they crushed and shot people in Tianamen Square?

Bit of mass murder should show them who's the boss eh

3 ( +4 / -1 )

yes, exactly , because now Chinese are the most economically powerful people on this planet , which wouldnt happen if they had fake western "democracy"

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

uprising by people .. lol

0 ( +2 / -2 )

1989 was a citizens revolution against socialism.

It was citizens protesting against dictatorship, much like what the students in HK are doing right now.

Difference is that they didn't have a brutal regime in Czechoslovakia, like they have in China.

They didn't have police beating up people at random or send criminals to do what they couldn't .

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Having to choose

You don't have to chose. I keep in touch with a lady friend living in HK. This is how she sees it. What ever that she has been telling me on the phone, it can't be said if China has its way, that's the price, freedom to say things as they it need to be said.

Everybody (both sides of politics) in HK KNOWS Lam miscalculated with the ext. bill.

Everybody also knows it was never meant for Taiwan, though Lam's side will not say it in public.

Everybody now knows exactly what Lam is up to. Pushing HK further towards authoritarianism.

Everybody knows Lam wants unrests, though Lam's side will never admit it. Everyday, everyweek, every month, she has a meeting with stakeholders, they keep telling her it's not working, she needs to change tack. She keeps telling them just do your job, she keeps telling them to escalate until it stops. They follow her orders.

Everybody, both sides of politics knows the government has complete power, yet it has only ever wielded that power to punish, never, not once to reconciliate. That's the track record up till now.

People of HK don't want to have to chose, they want the people in power to restore stability. The young students, and most HKers don't want to pay the price - freedom. Lam is putting a very high price on stability - freedom.

So forget about choice and sides, and contemplate the price paid to have stability.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Hong Kong is now a Nazi city where the police are allowed to abuse live ammunition against those unarmed citizens and the police have obviously been carrying out the massacres following stealthy orders of their ultimate officials, including the Nazi leader Carrie Lam who addressed on TV and local radio programmes to murder the peaceful protestors.

The murderer (I I refuse to call him a police officer) Kwan Kar Wing, police number #A856, is most likely already safely on his way to Bejing. This malicious thug and Nazi soldier Kwan Kar Wing (police number #A856) will be assassinated. I do believe so. Thanks.

And Carrie Lam will be arrested. She will be also killed soon. So Carrie Lam will be punished.

This is God's instructions for Hong Kong people.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

The police are fearless of laws too since it doesn't apply to them.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Elizabethwong - Hong Kong is now a Nazi city where the police are allowed to abuse live ammunition against those unarmed citizens.....

These alleged unarmed citizens have been throwing Molotov cocktails at the police. A man was recently doused with a flammable liquid and then set on fire. No one could seriously believe that anyone who is trying to burn someone to death could be considered an "unarmed citizen".

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

These alleged unarmed citizens have been throwing Molotov cocktails at the police. A man was recently doused with a flammable liquid and then set on fire. No one could seriously believe that anyone who is trying to burn someone to death could be considered an "unarmed citizen".

But it's not binary good/bad either, the entire situation is extremely fluid. Away from main stream media, in the corners of citizen media, you can see the escalation is almost always generated by government. They don't back down either.

The only take away from it all is this: Despite the government holding all the cards, how can the government seemly let the situation recalibrate further and further from stability, and ever closer to chaos. This is not good government, it's government with different more nefarious agenda.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

One case (what the government did) is written in the active voice, the other case (what the protesters did) is written in the passive voice. They're hoping callous readers associate both acts of violence as having been done by the police

If you're trying to make it binary so you can process it and judge. Here's the binary: Carrie Lam stoked fear into the population of HK with 'the Bill'. The same fear that drove millions onto the street peacefully.

Then she labelled them, and fired tear gas on them, tear gas onto families with toddlers, everything else is just fluidity...BUT the protesters are powerless, the government has all the power. Judge that!

Let's not get into all the paramilitaries that has been stoking the tensions and deviate society into further lawlessness either. IMHO, without tge mainland power, Lam would have been overthrown, tried and hung by now.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Sh1mon M4sada - Then she labelled them,

Oh No! She labelled them. That's absolutely appalling. OTOH, I suggest that the peaceful demonstrators remain peaceful. Throwing Molotov cocktails will only encourage an even stronger response from the victims of those Molotov cocktails.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Lam said on Monday the violence had exceeded protesters' demands for democracy and demonstrators were now the people's enemy.

Are you sure of that ?

https://www.reddit.com/r/HongKong/comments/dv5owq/how_the_enemies_of_the_people_were_received/

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Oh No! She labelled them

A supposed leader.

The minute she put a label on them is the minute she cast them out of the HK family, it's what dogs do to outcast unwanted members of a pack. And you wonder why the entire country is in a chaotic mess, it started with the leader, it escalated along the way each and everytime by the same leader.

The leader, with all her powers, decided, she wants to continue this OK Corral with the country and its most valuable asset, its youths.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Throwing Molotov cocktails

Do you even acknowledge the fluidity of the situation?

Going by your posts, it seems, HKers should just bend over and take it all, starting with the 'bill', yeah?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

What kind of a leader gets reports of the country sliding further and further into chaos and decides, it's ok, we'll just ratchet it up another notch?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@Eppee

Yes that is what I'm hearing from dear friends in HK as well. A realtor I know and kept in touch with regularly told me, she has had to close down her office, but her landlord is giving her a break on rent, and the chain of giving go on and on, all in support of the protesters, because, they're all terrified of communist China.

They know, from past immigrants from Guangzhou, the CCP will divide families, make neighbours enemies and turn living into walking on eggshells.

It's not like how the mainstream media portrays it, this is a deliberate attempt by Lam to integrate HK into CCP controls, sooner.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Sh1mon M4sada - A supposed leader.

The minute she put a label on them is the minute she cast them out of the HK family,

Oh No! She labeled them. Oh, the humanity.

Name-calling can only hurt your feelings. If you're willing to let it hurt your feelings, that is. OTOH, attempting to burn someone while they're still alive is really going to upset some people.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Sh1mon M4sada - Do you even acknowledge the fluidity of the situation?

Going by your posts, it seems, HKers should just bend over and take it all, starting with the 'bill', yeah?

Going by my posts, you might get the idea that I'm suggesting that the protesters refrain from throwing Molitov cocktails, or splashing people with flammable liquids and setting them on fire.

You can chose to justify whatever increasing levels of violence suits your purpose.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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