Hong Kong police break up protesters with force

Jeck Deocampo   •   October 1, 2019   •   217

Police fire tear gas canisters towards anti-government protesters during a protest on National Day in Hong Kong, China, 01 October 2019. Hong Kong has witnessed several months of ongoing mass protests, originally triggered by a now withdrawn extradition bill to mainland China that have turned into a wider pro-democracy movement. China commemorates the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China on 01 October 2019. EPA-EFE/JEROME FAVRE

Violent clashes ensued as Hong Kong riot police break up protesters with force on Tuesday (October 1) while China celebrates its 70th anniversary National Day.

China celebrated its growing power and confidence with a big display of military hardware and goose-stepping troops in Beijing on Tuesday, overseen by President Xi Jinping who pledged peaceful development on Communist China’s 70th birthday.

The event is the country’s most important of the year as it looks to project its assurance in the face of mounting challenges, including nearly four months of anti-government protests in Hong Kong and an economy-sapping trade war with the United States.

The former British colony was in lockdown on Tuesday with barricades in the city centre, shuttered stores and a heavy police presence. Embattled Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam is in Beijing for the anniversary celebrations. (REUTERS/EPA)

(Production: Arshad Satikin, Juarawee Kittisilpa)

China’s Singles Day sales surpass $1 billion in 1st minute

Robie de Guzman   •   November 11, 2019

Workers sort packages at the Yuqiao mail processing center on Singles’ Day, in Yangzhou City, Jiangsu Province, China, 11 November 2019. Singles’ Day is the largest online shopping festival in the world and Chinese consumers are expected to spend billions on bargains during the one-day e-commerce shopping spree. EPA-EFE/MENG DELONG CHINA OUT

SHANGHAI, China — China’s golden day for e-commerce, Singles Day, began at midnight (16.00 GMT Sunday) with sales surpassing $1 billion in just one minute through the platforms of online retail giant Alibaba Group.

At 12 a.m. on the 11th day of the 11th month, millions of Chinese began shopping and Alibaba began counting orders with the aim of breaking internet sales records for a single day.

In the first five minutes alone, products worth $4.3 billion were sold on platforms such as Taobao or T-Mall in this public shopping festival similar to Black Friday in the United States.

One hour after midnight, Alibaba Group said sales had reached over $12 billion.

The goal is to beat last year’s record of $30.8 billion in sales, a figure expected to be achieved through an increasing number of Chinese internet users and online shoppers.

According to Alibaba Group’s latest quarterly results published at the beginning of November, annual active consumers in China reached 693 million, 15.3 percent more than a year earlier.

Singles Day emerged in 2009 with the participation of only 27 stores and a collection of just 52 million yuan ($7.4 million).

Sales each year now reach 2.5 times higher than the total of Black Friday and Cyber Monday – large sales days in the US — combined.

Although most purchases are made in China, there are also international transactions since the company is present in other countries through its AliExpress platform.

And although other online sales platforms have joined the day, as well as thousands of physical stores, Alibaba is the main promoter.

It celebrates in style, such as with a televised gala in which artists and celebrities encourage people to buy.

Sunday’s show, which ended with a countdown to mark the beginning of shopping, was held in the city of Shanghai and featured performances by artists such as the US pop star Taylor Swift. EFE-EPA

At least one protester shot by police in Hong Kong

Robie de Guzman   •   November 11, 2019

Hong Kong police fired live rounds Monday morning, hitting at least one protester, amid a citywide strike and widespread chaos.

Shortly before 8 am local time (00:00 GMT), witness videos emerged of a police officer firing his gun amid a scuffle on a busy street in the middle-class residential area of Sai Wan Ho, where a group of protesters was blocking traffic.

In a video captured by Cupid News, the officer was first seen running across a road, apparently giving chase, before he stopped and started to walk back. In a sudden move, he turned around, took out his gun and grabbed a young man in white hoodie wearing a mask.

The young man struggled and the officer then appeared to fire a shot at close range into the stomach of an approaching black-clad masked man who dropped to the ground. In footage less clear, bystanders confronted the officer who then fired two more shots, with another person dropping to the ground.

The Hospital Authority confirmed to EFE on Monday afternoon that a 21-year-old man who sustained a gunshot wound was in critical condition. Local media reported the authority as saying another man was seriously injured.

“During Police operations, one Police officer has discharged his service revolver, one male was shot,” police confirmed in a statement.

It added that officers had drawn their weapons in two other locations, but denied “false and malicious” reports that “police management has ordered frontline officers to recklessly use their firearms.”

The proposed citywide strike on Monday was called for by angry anti-government netizens after the death on Friday of 22-year-old university student Alex Chow Tsz-lok. He fell from a height in a car park on Nov. 3 and suffered serious brain injuries under circumstances that are still unclear.

Chaos continued to escalate in the former British colony as the strike brought traffic chaos to various parts of the city during rush hour.

Police were out in force early, with riot officers deployed to various districts. Following the shooting incident, an angry crowd gathered in Sai Wan Ho and shouted “murderers” at the police who cordoned off and guarded roads in the area.

The police statement said that protesters had set up barricades across multiple locations, dropped “large and heavy objects from heights to carriageways” and “threw a petrol bomb into the MTR compartment and vandalized university facilities.”

At around 8.30 am, riot police reportedly entered the campus of Polytechnic University and fired teargas at protesters.

Teargas was also reportedly fired near the campus of the University of Hong Kong on Hong Kong Island and the Chinese University of Hong Kong in the New Territories.

Classes were suspended in at least two universities, namely Shue Yan University and Polytechnic University.

At some metro stations, activists jammed trains and prevented train doors from closing. Many roads were blocked by makeshift barricades erected by black-clad men who came and went quickly. Various metro stations were closed while train services were delayed. – EFE-EPA (Shirley Lau)

BI arrests man wanted for investment scam in China

Robie de Guzman   •   November 4, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – A Chinese national wanted for his alleged involvement in economic crimes in China has been arrested by the operatives of the Bureau of Immigration, the agency said Monday.

Chen long, alias Chen Chenglong was arrested last Oct. 30 in a building in Makati City, the bureau said in a statement.

Chen, 32, and his cohort were accused of setting up an unregistered investment company in Shandong province and “reportedly duped their victims more than 60 million RMB or more than P400 million.”

The BI said it launched an operation and case build-up after receiving information from Chinese authorities about Chen’s crimes.

“Upon receipt of the information, we immediately conducted a case build-up and determined his location to effect his arrest,” Bobby Raquepo, head of the BI’s Fugitive Search Unit said.

The bureau added that Chen’s passport has been canceled by the Chinese government, making him an undocumented alien.

Chen has been transferred to the BI Detention Center in Bicutan, Taguig pending the implementation of his deportation.

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