Police armed with anti-riot shields arrested three mainlanders, including two men who threatened to throw glass bottles of soy sauce at a multilevel-marketing firm in Causeway Bay.
The arrests yesterday ended a two-day protest in which scores of mainland product distributors of Digital Crown Holdings (DCHL) renewed demands for refunds of their investments.
Police wrestled the pair to the ground. Protesters said one of them was cut on his belly by glass shards and the other sprained his arm when handcuffed.
One protester shouted: "Arrest us all if you dare. We've lost all our money to a big fat liar and we don't want to live any longer." Another yelled: "We have no money to pay for accommodation. We're sleeping under the [Canal Road] flyover."
The two men were taken to hospital, as were six officers who were also injured in the fracas.
Yesterday's rally saw about 40 people, mostly from Guangzhou and Hunan , storm DCHL's sales centre on Canal Road West, throwing hell notes and joss paper. They were not allowed to leave until three hours later, after police took down their names and passport numbers.
Anti-DCHL rallies started in October. Protesters said they bought products totalling more than 60,000 yuan to qualify as distributors and were promised rewards if they signed up other distributors. But no commission had been forthcoming, they said, and the goods lacked permits to be resold on the mainland.
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The latest clash broke out after more than 100 distributors visited Hong Kong upon receiving a call on December 24 from DCHL, protesters said.
The company had asked to meet them on Monday to thrash out a refund plan - which it had promised to draw up within two weeks during a rally last month.
But at the meeting, DCHL representatives showed them a court order banning protesters from getting close to the offices instead, a Zhuhai man who attended the session said.
Angry former distributors gathered at the Canal Road West office the next morning.
"A policeman told me DCHL called the police on Sunday, giving them advance notice of the possible protest," another Zhuhai resident said. "He said even the police were surprised we had been deceived again."
Last night, police said three people were arrested for causing disorder in a public place. They were being held last night pending further investigation.