Hong Kong Law & Crime Politics & Protest

Hong Kong anti-extradition law demo turns ugly, as riot police deploy pepper spray inside mall to clear protesters

Riot police clashed with protesters inside an upscale shopping mall in Sha Tin on Sunday night, with police deploying pepper spray for the second time in two days.

Anti-extradition law protesters turned out in the thousands in the afternoon for a peaceful march calling for the controversial bill to be fully scrapped.

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Photo: Kris Cheng/HKFP.

Scuffles broke out between protesters and police at Yuen Wo Road, after the march officially ended at around 5pm.

july 14 sha tin new town plaza china extradition (14)

Photo: Kris Cheng/HKFP.

As the police cleared the streets in the evening, many demonstrators sought refuge in nearby malls.

july 14 sha tin new town plaza china extradition (14)

Photo: Kris Cheng/HKFP.

New Town Plaza, which is connected to Sha Tin MTR station, saw chaotic scenes after police in full riot gear entered the premises at around 9pm.

july 14 sha tin new town plaza china extradition (14)

Photo: HKFP.

Police were seen using pepper spray and batons against protesters within the mall.

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Police officers tear the shirt of a protester during a clash inside a shopping arcade in Sha Tin of Hong Kong after a rally against a controversial extradition law proposal in Sha Tin district of Hong Kong on July 14, 2019. Photo: Philip Fong/AFP.

Police said at least 20 men and 17 women were arrested in Sha Tin, according to RTHK.

july 14 sha tin new town plaza china extradition (14)

Photo: Kris Cheng/HKFP.

During the mall clearance, some protesters threw umbrellas, water bottles and other objects at police officers, who held body-length riot shields.

july 14 sha tin new town plaza china extradition

Photo: InMediahk.net.

At one point, a plainclothes police officer was filmed being beaten by protesters as a TVB cameraman tried to protect him.

A video circulating online showed the officer being pushed down an escalator before he was surrounded and beaten on the floor.

july 14 sha tin new town plaza china extradition (12)

Photo: Inmediahk.net.

Separately, local media reported that a police officer’s ring finger was seriously injured, exposing the bone underneath. The officer said he was bitten.

july 14 sha tin new town plaza china extradition (14)

Photo: Kris Cheng/HKFP.

Bloodstains were seen on the floor of New Town Plaza mall, with reports of multiple injuries to protesters, police officers and journalists. Police said 11 officers were injured.

july 14 sha tin new town plaza china extradition (14)

Photo: Kris Cheng/HKFP.

New Town Plaza said in a statement on Facebook that it did not call the police, and none of its staff had guided police officers inside the mall.

july 14 sha tin new town plaza china extradition (12)

Photo: Inmediahk.net.

The mall also said that only their staff wore the New Town Plaza uniform, as rumours mounted over police officers wearing mall staff uniforms.

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Photo: StandNews.

The MTR Corporation said shortly after 10pm that trains would not stop at Sha Tin station, but the decision was reversed about half an hour later.

july 14 sha tin new town plaza china extradition (14)

Photo: Kris Cheng/HKFP.

In a statement, a Hong Kong government spokesperson condemned the “unlawful acts” of protesters who “intentionally blocked roads and violently assaulted the police.”

july 14 sha tin new town plaza china extradition

Photo: InMediahk.net.

Political group Demosisto said at 9:45pm that two of its standing committee members, Calvin Chu and William Liu, were arrested.

july 14 sha tin new town plaza china extradition (14)

Photo: Kris Cheng/HKFP.

Some protesters proceeded to Mong Kok following the melee.

july 14 sha tin new town plaza china extradition (14)

Photo: Kris Cheng/HKFP.

The extradition bill would allow the city to handle case-by-case fugitive transfers to jurisdictions with no prior arrangements, including China. Critics have said residents would be at risk of extradition to the mainland, which lacks human rights protections.

july 14 sha tin new town plaza china extradition (12)

Photo: Inmediahk.net.

Throughout the day, demonstrators had been calling for a complete withdrawal of the bill, the withdrawal of the “riot” characterisation of the June 12 protests, the unconditional release of all arrested protesters, the formation of an independent commission of inquiry into police behaviour, as well as universal suffrage.

Hong Kong anti-extradition law demo turns ugly, as riot police deploy pepper spray inside mall to clear protesters