Hong Kong police use batons, pepper spray on protesters after clashes in shopping mall

Hong Kong police use batons, pepper spray on protesters after clashes in shopping mall

police officers clash with protesters in Sheung Shui
Plain clothes police officers clash with protesters during a rally inside a shopping mall in Sheung Shui in Hong Kong on Dec 28, 2019.  (Photo: AFP/Dale De La Rey)

HONG KONG: Hong Kong police used pepper spray and batons to disperse protesters after clashes inside Landmark North shopping centre in Sheung Shui on Saturday (Dec 28).

Police said masked protesters "caused nuisances" inside the mall and threw iron nails at shops. There were running battles throughout the mall, with officers pinning demonstrators to the ground.

At least 15 people were arrested as protesters rallied against mainland tourists and shoppers in the border town.

Masked plain-clothed officers wielding batons arrested 14 people, including a 14-year-old girl, who were protesting inside the mall.

The chaos forced shops to shut, with some customers still inside.

Similar protests and clashes also took place in a mall in Kowloon Bay district, where a number of people were arrested on Saturday evening.


In recent years Sheung Shui has been swamped by a huge influx of mainlanders and parallel traders seeking to circumvent Chinese taxes, angering many residents who have seen their local shops transformed to cater to the visitors.

PROTESTS OVER FESTIVE SEASON

The fresh unrest ended a brief calm after protesters had battled riot police in shopping malls and streets of commercial districts across the city for three days over the Christmas period.

On Thursday, dozens marched through several malls chanting anti-government and anti-police slogans.

Hong Kong shopping mall protests Dec 28, 2019 (4)
Plain clothes police officers detain a protester during a rally inside a shopping mall in Sheung Shui in Hong Kong on Dec 28, 2019. (Photo: AFP/Dale De La Rey)
Hong Kong shopping mall protests Dec 28, 2019 (5)
A plain clothes police officer (left) clashes with a protester during a rally inside a shopping mall in Sheung Shui in Hong Kong on Dec 28, 2019. (Photo: AFP/Dale De La Rey)

Hong Kong has been battered by about seven months of protests that has upended the financial hub's reputation for stability and helped tip the city into recession.

READ: Hong Kong police paid US$17 million in allowances related to protests

The city's many malls have become regular protest venues as demonstrators try to cause economic disruption and pressure the city's pro-Beijing leadership.

The last month had seen a relative drop-off in violence and protests after pro-democracy candidates won a landslide at local elections.

Hong Kong protests shopping mall Dec 28, 2019
Protesters march through a shopping mall near the Chinese border in Hong Kong, on Dec 28, 2019. (Photo: AP/Lee Jin-man)
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But with Beijing and city leaders refusing further concessions, rallies and clashes have reignited over the Christmas period.

READ: Our coverage of the Hong Kong protests

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Source: CNA/ga

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