Hong Kong protesters clashed with police on Saturday in a town near the boundary with mainland China where thousands rallied against the presence of Chinese traders, seizing on another grievance following major unrest over an extradition bill.
Hong Kong activists have protested against mainland Chinese traders in a town near the border on Saturday, seeking to channel energy from huge demonstrations against an extradition bill to another problem they say the government has mismanaged.
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.
Protesters are persisting in their demands for the bill to be formally withdrawn and an investigation opened into heavy-handed tactics used by police against demonstrators.
After the end of the Reclaim Sheung Shui protest against parallel traders who snap up goods such as foreign-made formula milk, medicines and soy sauce for reselling in China, in the town near the mainland border, hundreds of protesters put on goggles, face masks and hard hats and occupied the streets around the train station, which had been cordoned off for the police-sanctioned demonstration earlier.More news: Met Police Launch Criminal Investigation Into Ambassador 'Inept' Email Leak
"If we indulge crimes and breaches of the law, even whitewash, exonerate or give them support, that would be a blatant challenge to the rule of law in Hong Kong, which will eventually hurt the interest of all the Hong Kong people", he said. Some protesters took their anger out on a Bank of China branch, which they spray-painted, while others besieged a medicine shop, which was forced to close.
Many interviewed by the Guardian said the millions-strong anti-extradition protests during the past month became a lightning rod for them.
The small-time mainland traders have always been a source of anger among some in Hong Kong who argue that they have fuelled inflation, dodged taxes, diluted the town's identity and caused a spike in property prices. "We want to ask Carrie Lam, when are you going to speak the truth?"
Police then raised red warning flags to order protesters to leave immediately.
When former colonial ruler Britain returned Hong Kong to China in 1997, Chinese Communist leaders promised the city a high degree of autonomy for 50 years.More news: China ‘letting us down’ by not importing USA farm products: Donald Trump
"We want to raise awareness in Washington that the United States has to do more now to help Hong Kong become fully democratic", said a resident of the nearby town of Fanling, who was one of five people in the crowd carrying U.S. flags.
Similar protests have included a march last week by almost 2,000 people in the Tuen Mun residential district to protest against what they saw as the nuisance of brash singing and dancing to Mandarin pop songs by middle-aged mainland women.
But many say China has progressively tightened its grip, putting Hong Kong's freedoms under threat through a range of measures such as the extradition bill. Some of the women receive tips from older men. "I hope that through today's action, people in Hong Kong will not forget that there are actually many other social issues waiting to be solved".
Tens of thousands of protesters staged an anti-extradition march the next day through one of the most popular tourist shopping areas in Kowloon, where they tried to win support from mainland Chinese tourists.More news: Drivers showered with cash on Georgia highway