Published: Tue, July 16, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Hong Kong Protests Turn Violent as Agitators Target Mainland Chinese

Hong Kong Protests Turn Violent as Agitators Target Mainland Chinese

Thailand's Consulate in Hong Kong has warned Thais to be vigilant and avoid visiting areas of Hong Kong where protesters gather.

Chung Kim-wah, assistant professor of social policy at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, said blame for the clashes should be laid firmly at the feet of Lam's administration for refusing to accede to protesters' demands.

By taking leave on Monday, 15 July, they can enjoy a five-day holiday break, as both 16 and 17 July are national holidays for Asanha Bucha and the start of Buddhist Lent. Five Hong Kong booksellers disappeared and ended up in Chinese custody, and the 2014 protest leaders were sent to prison.

Travellers are advised to check in for flights early to be on the safe side. Protesters are demanding the bill be scrapped and have called for resignations of key ministers.

Hong Kong Police Commissioner Stephen Lo (盧偉聰) late on Sunday said that more than 40 people were arrested on charges including assaulting police officers and illegal assembly.

The town has previously been a battleground for Hong Kong people angry over the flood of Chinese day-trippers. Opponents of a proposed Hong Kong extradition law have begun a protest march, adding to an outpouring of complaints the territory's pro-Beijing government is eroding its freedoms and autonomy.

While largely peaceful, the protests have at times devolved into clashes between protesters and police, who have used pepper spray, bean bag rounds, rubber bullets and tear gas to quell demonstrators.

"The police seem to have become even more violent".

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At least 10,000 people took part in the march Sunday in Sha Tin, a town in the New Territories, the northern portion of Hong Kong that abuts the mainland.

"I think there is now a huge problem on how the police enforce the law", said Nelson Yip, a protester in his 40s.

Riot police continued to use pepper spray and batons to clear protesters from the mall while demonstrators were seen using umbrellas and other make-shift weapons to fight police.

The amendments are widely seen as a threat to Hong Kong's way of life, which was supposed to have been protected by the "one country, two systems" framework under which the former British colony was handed back to China in 1997.

"These days there is really no trust of China, and so the protesters come out", said Jennie Kwan, 73.

It said that during the last 18 months it had arrested 126 mainland visitors suspected of infringing the terms of their stay by engaging in parallel trading, and barred about 5,000 mainland Chinese also suspected of involvement. Activists have also accused Lam of ignoring public sentiment and called on her to resign. "She has made many promises but she has not been able to fulfill them".

Critics say that would threaten Hong Kong's rule of law and its place as an Asian financial hub.

A police statement said that while there was room for improvement in coordination between officers and the media, the police respected press freedom and the media's right to report. It promised "appropriate follow up actions" for complaints of mistreatment.

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