HK protesters crowd out shopping malls in running clashes with cops
One man beaten with stick, councillor has part of ear bitten off
HONG KONG: Hong Kong anti-government protesters crowded shopping malls in running clashes with police yesterday, with several suffering bloody wounds a day after parts of the city became a battleground.
A human chain in the upmarket Hong Kong island mall of Cityplaza, in Taikoo Shing, turned into a bloody face-to-face conflict with police, running up and down escalators where families with young children had been window shopping just minutes before.
Police said protesters had vandalised a restaurant after a peaceful chanting of slogans.
Several people were wounded, one man in a white T-shirt being beaten with sticks by protesters.
Another man lay in a pool of blood on the pavement.
Broadcaster RTHK said district councillor Andrew Chiu was among the wounded and that part of his ear had been bitten off.
It was not immediately possible to verify the report.
A kitchen knife lay on the ground outside the mall.
"These police are not what they used to be," said Ms Julie, 24. "They come in here and push us around. It is not right." Police made several arrests.
There were scuffles, confrontations and vandalism in malls in the New Territories towns of Tai Po, Tuen Mun and Sha Tin, where police fired pepper spray as protesters hurled abuse.
Pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong battled police across the territory's main island on Saturday, furious at Communist Party leaders in Beijing and perceived Chinese meddling with Hong Kong's freedoms, which China denies.
They have vandalised Hong Kong businesses seen as being pro-China. Xinhua news agency condemned the attack by what it said were "barbaric thugs" who broke doors and security systems and threw fire and paint bombs into the lobby.
Police fired tear gas, rubber bullets and a water cannon at protesters on Saturday and early yesterday as the violence spilled from Hong Kong island across the harbour to Kowloon.
One of the protesters' key demands is an independent probe into perceived police brutality.
Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam will fly to China this week to discuss how to make it easier for Hong Kong people to live and work on the mainland, her office said yesterday.
Ms Lam, despised by pro-democracy protesters, will arrive in Beijing tomorrow for a meeting the next day of the "leading group" for developing the Greater Bay Area of southern China.
The group has already met twice, "endorsing a number of measures to facilitate Hong Kong people to develop, work and reside in the mainland cities of the Greater Bay Area, as well as strengthen the convenient flow of people and goods", her office said. - REUTERS