Hong Kong police to ban march planned against gang violence on protesters

Robie de Guzman   •   July 26, 2019   •   887

Riot police clash with anti-extradition bill protesters as they arrive to disperse protesters from the Legislative Council Building in Hong Kong, China, 02 July 2019.

Hong Kong police on Thursday (July 25) defended their decision to ban a march against mob violence in the Yuen Long district this coming weekend.

Organizers of the march planned to demonstrate against violence inflicted on anti-government protesters and commuters at a train station on Sunday (July 21) by an apparent gang wielding batons.

Marches, rallies and other political events in Hong Kong generally need to receive a so-called letter of no objection from police before going ahead, which was on Thursday withheld by police citing safety concerns.

Sunday’s unprecedented attack led to fierce criticism of the police, who have been accused of arriving late to the scene and failing to immediately arrest the perpetrators. Hong Kong residents came out in the subsequent days to build large-scale “Lennon Walls” – a colorful notice board with political statements, where they encourage more people to come out to march to the Yuen Long MTR station, the site of the attack.

Sunday’s attack left 45 people injured and came during a night of escalating violence that opened new fronts in Hong Kong’s widening crisis over an extradition bill that could see people from the territory sent to China for trial in Communist Party-controlled courts. (REUTERS)

(Production: Yuddy Cahya, Aleksander Solum)

DFA: Filipinos in Hong Kong are safe, no need for evacuation at this time

Marje Pelayo   •   November 18, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) assures kin of overseas Filipino workers (OFW) in Hong Kong that they are safe and remain unaffected by the ongoing public unrest in the southeastern Chinese territory.

The DFA issued a statement following false reports on the plight of Filipino workers and residents in Hong Kong that circulated on social media.

“The Philippine Consulate General in Hong Kong is closely monitoring the situation and is taking every step to ensure the continued safety and well-being of our nationals there,” the DFA said.

The Department said those who wish to follow the impact of developments in Hong Kong on Filipinos there, are advised to visit the Consulate’s website for updates and advisories “instead of turning to questionable sources of information in the social media.”

In a live broadcast on Facebook, Consul General Raly Tejada allayed fears of families of OFWs living and working in the territory.

“Ang inyong mga mahal sa buhay dito sa Hong Kong ay safe naman po at nasa Mabuti pong kalagayan, (Your loved ones here in Hong Kong are safe),” Tejada said.

“Wala po kayong dapat ipagalala sapagkat ang Konsulado naman po dito ay nananatiling handa upang tumulong sa mga pangangailangan ng mga kababayan natin dito, (You have nothing to worry about because the Consulate is ready to provide them the necessary assistance),” he added.

Meanwhile, Tejada calls on all Filipino residents and workers in Hong Kong to always monitor the Consulate’s advisory through its official Facebook page and website where Philippine officials announce latest information regarding the ongoing protests in Hong Kong.

They may also call the Philippine Consulate’s hotline number 91554023 for assistance as they are ready to respond, according to Tejada.

Filipinos who have work contracts in Hong Kong are assured that the territory’s international airport is functional and businesses runs as usual.

However, Consul General Tejada asked non-essential travelers to Hong Kong to defer their plans at this time for their safety.

“Kung pwede po ay ipagpaliban muna at pagisipan po muna natin bago po tayo tumuloy ng Hong Kong (You may opt to defer or reconsider before you travel to Hong Kong),” he said.

“Ang mga public transportation po dito ay naapektuhan po ng rally kaya hindi po dependable sa ngayon (All public transportation here are very much affected by the rally so they are not that dependable at this time),” he concluded.

Tunghayan ang mensahe ng ating Consul General Raly L. Tejada

Posted by Philippine Consulate General in Hong Kong on Monday, 11 November 2019

70-year-old dies after being hit on head during Hong Kong clashes

Robie de Guzman   •   November 15, 2019

Protesters prepare to clash with police near the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, in Hong Kong, China, 14 November 2019. Hong Kong is in its sixth month of mass protests, which were originally triggered by a now withdrawn extradition bill, and have since turned into a wider pro-democracy movement. EPA-EFE/MIGUEL CANDELA

HONG KONG – A cleaner subcontracted by the Hong Kong government died overnight after he was apparently struck on the head by a brick amid protest clashes on Nov. 13, authorities reported Friday.

The Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) released a statement expressing “profound sadness” over the death of the outsourced cleaning service contractor on Thursday night.

The man was hit during his lunch break near North District Town Hall on Wednesday.

“We have requested the service contractor to follow up the labor insurance and compensation matters promptly,” said an FEHD spokesperson, according to the statement which added that the police would do everything to investigate the case and bring the “offenders to justice.”

Since the first day of the general strike on Monday, Hong Kong has witnessed a sharp rise in violence with demonstrations ending in clashes that have resulted in several people injured.

On Wednesday, two people were reported to be seriously injured — a 15-year-old who was hit on the head by a tear gas canister, and the now-deceased 70-year-old man who died Thursday night.

On Monday, a 21-year-old boy was shot by a traffic policeman and in a separate incident, a 57-year-old was set alight after a political argument.

The young man’s condition improved from critical to serious and has reportedly been arrested for unlawful assembly, whereas the man set alight remains critical with burns to 44 percent of his body.

On Nov. 8, a 22-year-old student died after being in a coma for several days after falling from the third to the second floor of a parking lot in a building situated near clashes between the police and protesters.

The circumstances around the death remain unclear.

Continued protests and clashes between demonstrators and riot police at several campuses of educational institutions in Hong Kong has led several universities to announce an early end to the semester on Thursday.

The demonstrations, which have drawn massive crowds since June following a contentious proposed extradition law, have turned into a movement seeking to improve democracy in the city-state and safeguard the region’s partial autonomy from Beijing.

Some demonstrators have opted for more radical tactics than peaceful civil disobedience and violent clashes with the police have been frequent. – EFE-EPA

hk-pem/sc/tw

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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)

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