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December 4, 2020
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Police use tear gas, pepper spray as Hong Kong Christmas protests turn ugly

Police arrest a protester in Mong Kok on Christmas Day. Photo: Felix Wong
  • Tear gas, pepper spray used in Mong Kok and Sha Tin on Christmas Day as chaotic protests continue after previous night’s violence and vandalism
  • City leader Carrie Lam expresses her frustration at the behaviour of radicals, accusing them of ruining Christmas Eve for locals and tourists

 

Defiant anti-government protesters took to the streets of Hong Kong and gathered in shopping centres again on Christmas Day, confronting police who used tear gas and pepper spray, after a previous night of mob violence and vandalism.

Riot police were out in force on Wednesday at various hot spots and pepper sprayed protesters inside Sha Tin’s New Town Plaza, outside Langham Place in Mong Kok, and at Telford Plaza in Kowloon Bay riot police chased after protesters and sprayed them at close range. Earlier around 200 protesters gathered at Telford Plaza at 8pm and sang their anthem, Glory to Hong Kong.

Officers were seen subduing protesters and taking them away at several flashpoints, including around 10 at New Town Plaza.

Riot police retreated to their vans as hundreds of protesters advanced towards them in Mong Kok’s Shanghai Street, and fired two rounds of tear gas at them at around 6.30pm without raising any warning flag.

Hong Kong’s hotels half empty at Christmas despite plunging rates

The city’s embattled leader, Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, expressed her frustration at the behaviour of radicals on Christmas Eve, saying many people as well as tourists coming to Hong Kong were disappointed that their festive celebrations had been ruined by “a group of reckless and selfish rioters”.

“Such illegal acts have not only dampened the festive mood but also adversely affected local businesses,” she said in a Facebook post. “The government will try its utmost to uphold law and order, and restore peace in Hong Kong.”

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