Hong Kong Law & Crime Politics & Protest

Protests against Hong Kong mask ban continue as MTR stations vandalised

Sha Tin and Mong Kok became protest flashpoints on Saturday night as large crowds continued to oppose an emergency law banning masks at protests after it came into effect a week ago.

masks hong kong

Masks seen on Saturday. Photo: Mohd Rasfan/AFP.

Police fired multiple projectile shots outside Mong Kok police station and detained at least two people.

TV news footage showed protesters in a scuffle with plainclothes officers wielding extendable batons, before riot police rushed to the scene.

oct 12 police mong kok

Photo: Apple Daily.

In a press release at midnight, police said demonstrators “behaved in a disorderly manner, threw stones at the station and aimed laser beams at police officers. Such acts threatened the safety of members of the public and police officers. After repeated warnings went futile [sic], Police have deployed the minimum force necessary…”

Meanwhile, protesters gathered at the atrium of the New Town Plaza shopping mall in Sha Tin, with many folding paper cranes and chanting slogans.

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Protesters at New Town Plaza. Photo: Jimmy Lam/United Social Press.

A small group of black-clad protesters rushed into the nearby Sha Tin MTR station at around 9:30pm and damaged its facilities for several minutes.

According to the rail operator, protesters vandalised the customer service centre, fire service equipment and various turnstiles. Separately, the MTR Corporation (MTRC) reported a fire seen at an exit of Kowloon Tong station at around 2:25pm. A case of suspected arson also took place at an exit of Lai Chi Kok station at around 5pm.

Hong Kong’s railway services halted at 10pm on Saturday to “allow more time for repair works.”

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Sha Tin MTR station vandalised. Photo: MTR handout.

The MTRC announced that the same arrangement would apply to Sunday as well, though all MTR stations would resume service.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam on October 4 invoked the colonial-era Emergency Regulations Ordinance to prohibit the use of face covering at protests. The move sparked a backlash, which gave new momentum to the pro-democracy movement as it entered its 19th week.

Explainer: How Hong Kong’s once-respected MTR fell afoul of protesters

Now in their 19th week, large-scale peaceful protests against a bill that would have enabled extraditions to China have evolved into sometimes violent displays of dissent over Beijing’s encroachment, democracy and alleged police brutality. The MTR became a target after it began closing stations around protests amid pressure from Chinese state media.

Elderly sit-in

Nearly 50 elderly protesters – who called themselves the “silver-haired” – began a sit-in outside police headquarters in Wan Chai on Saturday afternoon. The gathering is set to last for two days.

The group held banners and placards reading “Guard our future” and “No rioters, only tyranny.” An organiser surnamed Tam said their move was to protest the alleged police brutality over the past few months, especially the violence directed towards young people.

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Elderly protesters gather outside the Wan Chai police headquarters. Photo: inmediahk.net.

They also wanted to send the message that peaceful protesters will not sever ties with those who take more radical actions, and wanted to express concern for those arrested, Tam added.

Meanwhile, over a thousand gathered at the Clock Tower in Tsim Sha Tsui around 3pm on Saturday and marched towards Sham Shui Po, despite the rain and the lack of police authorisation.

In defiance of the law, many of the participants were masked and occupied sections of Salisbury Road and Nathan Road. Barricades were also spotted at Haiphong Road, bringing traffic to a halt.

Protesters vandalised the Kowloon Government Offices and the Cheung Sha Wan Government Offices, breaking some of the glass windows and spray-painting slogans onto walls.

The group dispersed around Cheung Sha Wan and Mei Foo.

Protesters are expected to gather for community-level events across 18 districts at 2pm on Sunday.


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Protests against Hong Kong mask ban continue as MTR stations vandalised