Protesters are set to march in Tuen Mun on Saturday afternoon after a police ban on the event was overturned. Meanwhile, pro-Beijing lawmaker Junius Ho has urged his supporters to “clean up” the Lennon Wall message boards across Hong Kong.
The “Reclaim Tuen Mun” event – the second of its kind since the anti-extradition bill movement began – is targetted at the “singing aunties” who frequently appear in the local park. Organisers have demanded that the government change its regulations to prohibit begging and performing for money in the park, to improve law enforcement, and to listen to complaints from the neighbourhood.
The march will begin at the San Wo Lane playground at 2pm and will head towards the Tuen Mun Government Offices. Organisers received permission for the event to last until 5pm.
“The dai mas in Tuen Mun Park are no longer just a problem of noise pollution, there is a fully-fledged industry behind them. Tuen Mun residents, Hongkongers, are you willing to see your park become a free platform for dai ma groups to earn money every day?” the organisers wrote.
Police on Wednesday banned the event citing concerns over potential violence and traffic obstruction. However, the Appeal Board on Public Meetings and Processions overturned the decision on Friday and gave the march a green light.
The appeal board shortened the event’s duration. It was originally meant to go on until 7pm. The route, however, remained unchanged.
On July 7, over 10,000 marched in opposition to the “dai mas,” criticising the women – who are often middle-aged mainlanders – for causing a nuisance to residents and park-goers. There were also allegations of “dai mas” dancing suggestively with their audience, which mainly consists of older men, and receiving money in return.
The event took place alongside the citywide pro-democracy protests, which were sparked by the extradition bill which would have allowed case-by-case fugitive transfers to China, now soon to be withdrawn.
While there were no direct links between the Tuen Mun protests and the extradition bill, protests since June have morphed into displays of dissent over a wide range of topics, including Beijing’s encroachment, democracy, alleged police brutality, surveillance and other community grievances.
The “self-entertainment zones” in Tuen Mun Park were abolished by the Tuen Mun District Council a few days after the July protest, but Apple Daily reported that the “singing aunties” returned after some time and continued their performances.
‘Clean up’ Lennon Walls
Separately, outspoken pro-Beijing lawmaker Junius Ho said he will push ahead with his event to “clean up” the Lennon Wall message boards on Saturday.
“If the government won’t do it, then we will… Improve environmental hygiene, tear down all of the rubbish and clean the walls. At the same time, we also need to clean people’s hearts, to fix the learning environment both in and outside of school!” Ho wrote on Facebook.
Late on Thursday, Ho confirmed reports that he had withdrawn an application to the police for a letter of no objection – but the event will still proceed, he said.
“After consideration, we think we don’t need to use these procedures, and we will still be able to do our ‘Clean Hong Kong’ campaign,” Ho said.
Ho also dismissed online rumours and “misinformation” surrounding his event, saying that a notice attributed to the Hong Kong Federation of Fujian Associations supporting him was fake. He also had no plans for a counter-demonstration at the airport on Sunday, Ho added.
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