Hong Kong police try to disperse crowd after a protest took place in Sheung Shui, Hong Kong on Saturday.
Hong Kong police try to disperse crowd after a protest took place in Sheung Shui, Hong Kong on Saturday.

Clashes in Hong Kong after protest against mainland Chinese traders

ANI | Updated: Jul 13, 2019 19:10 IST

Hong Kong, Jul 13 (ANI): Police and protesters clashed with each other on Saturday after thousands took to the streets to protest against mainland Chinese traders visiting Sheung Shui, a border town in Hong Kong located close to Shenzhen in mainland China.
The recent protest comes which continues the momentum of a series of mass rallies that have gripped the former British colony in recent weeks over a now-suspended controversial extradition bill.
The demonstration had begun peacefully at around 3:30 pm (local time) with protesters holding "reclaim Sheung Shui" placards. But it took a violent turn after police intervened, firing pepper spray at the agitators and pushing them back with baton-charges, South China Morning Post reported.
Despite this, protesters continued to raise slogans and continued their stand-off with the police, using water barriers to attack them. With the situation going out of hand, a group of riot police rushed into the scene and managed to disperse the crowd.
The clashes took place after 5 pm (local time) at a bridge connecting Landmark North shopping centre with the Sheung Shui MTR station.
The march had begun from North District sports field and passed through eight of the border town's roads. While passing a Lung Fung pharmacy, popular with the mainland Chinese traders, they chanted slogans -- "Close down! Reclaim Sheung Shui! Add oil, Hongkongers!"
About 150 police personnel were deployed in the wake of the protest and another 700 riot police were on standby.
Although the situation in Sheung Shui has stabilised, the atmosphere continues to remain tense with protesters threatening to stage a fresh round of agitations in the coming days, defying warnings from the police.
Leung Kam-shing, convenor of North District Parallel Imports Concern Group, which organised the protest, said that more than 30,000 people had attended the march against the influx of mainland Chinese traders in Hong Kong.
"The first 'reclaim Sheung Shui' march took place in 2012. Seven years on, we are still marching for it. What has the government done other than paying lip service, saying it will listen to the people? People will march again if the government continues to turn a blind eye," he said.
Calling on the protesters to support another scheduled agitation in Sha Tin on Sunday, Leung hoped that the Hong Kong government and district council will agree to the six demands raised by the demonstrators, including the cancelling the policy of issuing monthly visas for Shenzhen residents to come to Hong Kong.
"We understand there are both mainlanders and Hongkongers involved in parallel trading. What we want to oppose is this business. And we believe the visa policy should not favour people in a particular mainland city," he stressed.
Hong Kong Police has urged the demonstrators to stop their violent acts and leave the area as soon as possible.
"Any members of the public who are not involved in the protest should leave peacefully and should not engage in any illegal activities," Senior Superintendent Kong Wing-cheung from the Police Public Relations Branch, said in a video uploaded on the police's official Facebook page.
Anticipating the mass participation in the protest, some shops in Sheung Shui had shut down and public bus routes were diverted.
Since March, Hong Kong has been shaken by huge demonstrations against the extradition bill or the 'Fugitive Offenders Ordinance', which many fear could be used to deport political activists and dissidents to mainland China.
The bill was proposed on April 3 and its opposers argue that its controversial amendments will leave anyone on Hong Kong soil vulnerable to being grabbed by the Chinese authorities for political reasons or inadvertent business offences.
Multiple protests continue to take place in the semi-autonomous state despite the city's pro-Beijing leader Carrie Lam publicly apologising for proposing the controversial legislation and announcing later that the bill was "dead". (ANI)