Hong Kong protesters target mainland Chinese traders

Nellie Chapman
July 13, 2019

Hundreds of protesters stormed Hong Kong's parliament late on July 1 as the territory marked its China handover anniversary, ransacking the building and daubing its walls with graffiti as the city plunged into unprecedented depths of political chaos.

A small group of protesters yesterday paraded around the Hong Kong government headquarters with a mock coffin of Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam (林鄭月娥) as activists announced more protests.

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"A growing number of citizens have learned from a string of violent incidents recently that tolerating illegal behavior or giving excuses to violent acts would present a blatant challenge to the spirit of rule of law in Hong Kong, damage the interests of all Hong Kong people at the end", Wang said.

Clashes broke out between police and protesters in Hong Kong on Saturday after thousands took part in a peaceful march in an out-of-town district in Hong Kong.

Protesters used bottled water to clean their eyes of pepper spray while one demonstrator was bleeding from a head wound, an AFP reporter said.

On Saturday, the focus again turned away from downtown Hong Kong to Sheung Shui, a town close to the border where so-called "parallel traders" from the mainland buy bulk quantities of duty-free goods, which they then carry into China to sell.

Protesters are demanding an independent investigation into alleged police abuse of force against demonstrators on June 12, when officers used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse crowds blocking major streets.

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Tens of thousands of protesters staged an anti-extradition march last Sunday through one of the most popular tourist shopping areas in Kowloon, where they tried to win support from mainland Chinese tourists.

Last Saturday, almost 2,000 people marched in the residential district of Tuen Mun to protest against middle-aged mainland women they accused of brashly singing and dancing to pop songs in Mandarin, which many locals considered a nuisance.

"The anti-extradition protests have heightened our awareness over community issues, instead of waiting for the government to do something, we may as well take it in our own hands", said Vincent Yeung, a man in his 20s.

Last month, Lam suspended the bill indefinitely.

Critics fear suspects could face unfair and politicized trials in China, and that critics of the ruling Chinese Communist Party could be targeted.

But not everyone is convinced, with activists asserting that Lam did not go far enough to address public demands, and that the bill is still technically in motion within Hong Kong's legislative procedure.

Thousands marched on Saturday in a protest against mainland Chinese traders in a border town, tapping into the sentiment behind recent political demonstrations to highlight another perceived failure of the territory's leaders.

"The government, Carrie Lam, some legislators in functional constituencies are not elected by the people, so there are many escalating actions in different districts to reflect different social issues", he said. Organizer Ronald Leung, a leader of the North District Parallel Imports Concern Group, said residents have been complaining about the issue of Chinese traders for many years.

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