Tuesday, November 19, 2019 | ePaper

Hong Kong protesters moot Bank of China 'stress test' after latest clashes

  • Print


Protesters in Hong Kong are demanding that a postponed extradition bill be scrapped entirely.

AFP :
Anti-government protesters in Hong Kong began circulating plans on Monday to "stress test" the Bank of China in their bid to keep pressure on the city's pro-Beijing leaders, after five people were arrested in the latest clashes with police.
The finance hub has been plunged into its worst crisis in recent history following a month of huge marches as well as separate violent confrontations with police involving a minority of hardcore protesters.
The rallies were sparked by a now-suspended law that would have allowed extraditions to mainland China, but have since morphed into a wider movement calling for democratic reforms and a halt to sliding freedoms in the semi-autonomous territory.
Sunday night saw fresh political violence break out in the district of Mongkok as police baton-charged small groups of masked, largely young protesters who were walking along roads and refused to disperse following another massive, peaceful rally earlier in the day.
Police said the group were taking part in an "unlawful assembly" and had been warned that officers would take action.
"Some protesters resisted and police arrested five persons for assaulting a police officer and obstructing a police officer in the execution of duties," a statement said.
Another protester was arrested earlier in the day for failing to provide identification during a stop and search.
Activists hit out at the police tactics, saying the protesters had remained peaceful as they made their way home, and that violence was started by a shield wall of riot officers that had blocked the crowd's path.
"HKers joined rally peacefully... against extradition bill result in being beaten and assaulted by HK Police," democracy activist Joshua Wong wrote in a tweet accompanying pictures of at least two protesters with bleeding head wounds.
"Just another example of excessive force used by the police," he added in another tweet.
By Monday morning, online groups were already planning more protests on encrypted messenger apps and chat forums that have been successfully used by demonstrators to bring out huge crowds.
One proposal going viral was a call to collectively withdraw funds from the Bank of China this Saturday to "stress test" the organisation's liquidity.
Shares in the bank were down about one percent Monday in line with the broader market.
The state-owned Bank of China's towering Hong Kong headquarters is one of the most recognisable buildings in the territory's famous skyline and the organisation is one of three banks licensed to issue its own notes.
Public anger has soared against the city's pro-Beijing leaders and its police force after officers used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse protesters outside parliament last month.
Last Monday, anger peaked as hundreds of demonstrators stormed and trashed the city's parliament.
Those unprecedented scenes-and renewed huge marches-have failed to persuade the government, whose sole concession so far has been to suspend the loathed extradition bill.
Protesters are demanding the bill be scrapped entirely, an independent inquiry into police tactics, amnesty for those arrested, and for the city's unelected leader Carrie Lam to step down.
They have also demanded authorities stop characterising protesters as "rioters", a definition that carries much steeper jail terms.
Beijing has thrown its full support behind the embattled Lam, calling on police to pursue anyone involved in the parliament storming and other clashes.
With the exception of a pre-dawn press conference after parliament was stormed, Lam has virtually disappeared from public view in recent weeks with little clue as to what direction her administration intends to take.
Her office announced she planned to speak to the media on Tuesday morning, the first appearance in over a week.
Despite repeated requests, police have not released a breakdown of how many people have been detained in the last month of protests.
A tally kept by AFP shows at least 72 people have been arrested, though it is not clear how many have been charged.
Sunday's rally outside a controversial train station that runs to the mainland drew 230,000 people, organisers said, after calls for the gathering started on online forums and snowballed.
Police estimated 56,000 people attended the protest at its peak.

More News For this Category

China calls on US to 'stop flexing muscles' in South China Sea

China calls on US to 'stop flexing muscles' in South China Sea

Agencies, Bangkok :China on Monday called on the United States to stop flexing its muscles in the South China Sea and to avoid adding "new uncertainties" over Taiwan, during high-level

China confirms aircraft carrier sailed through Taiwan Strait

China confirms aircraft carrier sailed through Taiwan Strait

AFP, Beijing :China confirmed on Monday that its first domestically built aircraft carrier had sailed through the Taiwan Strait for "routine" training and tests after Taipei accused Beijing of intimidation

United States, EU back Georgia protesters

United States, EU back Georgia protesters

AFP, Tbilisi :The United States and European Union expressed solidarity Monday with Georgia's anti-government protesters who took to the streets after the ruling party backtracked on promises of electoral reforms.In

‘Women shouldn't feel like second-class citizens,’ says Indra Nooyi

‘Women shouldn't feel like second-class citizens,’ says Indra Nooyi

PTI, Washington :Women must not see themselves as second class citizens and know that they too have arrived on the scene, Indian American business executive and former CEO of PepsiCo

Rouhani warns protest-hit Iran cannot allow 'insecurity'

AFP, Tehran :President Hassan Rouhani warned Sunday that riot-hit Iran could not allow "insecurity" after two days of unrest killed two people and saw authorities arrest dozens and restrict internet

North Korea says it won't give Trump a summit for free

AP,  South Korea :North Korea on Monday responded to a tweet by U.S. President Donald Trump that hinted at another summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, saying it

News In Brief

Iran condemns US show of support for 'rioters'AFP, Tehran Iran condemned the United States' support for "rioters" in a statement issued late Sunday, after two days of violent protests in

Johnson's Conservatives have highest support since 2017: Polls

Johnson's Conservatives have highest support since 2017: Polls

Reuters, London :British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Conservative Party have the highest level of support since 2017, according to opinion polls published on Saturday.The Dec. 12 election was called to

US, S Korea postpone joint exercise criticized by N Korea

US, S Korea postpone joint exercise criticized by N Korea

AP, Bangkok :U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Sunday the United States and South Korea have indefinitely postponed a joint military exercise in an "act of goodwill" toward North Korea.The

Taiwan President chooses running mate who Chinese paper wanted arrested

Taiwan President chooses running mate who Chinese paper wanted arrested

Reuters, Taipei :Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen has named as her running mate for 2020 elections a former premier who angered Beijing so badly last year with his support for the