• Thu
  • Sep 18, 2014
  • Updated: 12:34pm
NewsHong Kong
POLITICS

Scuffles break out as protesters hurl slurs, abuse at mainland Chinese tourists

Police intervene as 100 demonstrators shout slurs at mainland shoppers and confront pro-Beijing group

PUBLISHED : Monday, 17 February, 2014, 4:54am
UPDATED : Monday, 17 February, 2014, 1:51pm
 

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17 Feb 2014
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Total number of votes recorded: 597

Scores of protesters marched through Tsim Sha Tsui yesterday in an "anti-locust" campaign demanding the government curb mainland visitors.

Protesters said a massive influx of mainland visitors - dubbed "locusts" by critics, who accuse them of overwhelming the city and hogging its resources - had hit the livelihoods of locals.

During the 90-minute protest about 100 people marched from the Star Ferry pier to Canton Road, a street lined with luxury goods stores popular with mainlanders. The march got off to a tense start when scuffles broke out between protesters and people opposed to the demonstration. Police had to intervene.

The protesters waved placards and chanted slogans such as "go back to China" and "reclaim Hong Kong" as they marched. Some carried colonial-era flags, a popular symbol for those who want autonomy or independence for Hong Kong.

Some booed and shouted abuse at Putonghua-speaking passers-by. The protesters also shouted abuse at mainland customers inside shops. Some shoppers took pictures while others ignored them. But some Canton Road jewellery shops closed.

Shanghai visitor Ma He said the protesters were disrespectful. "Are they not Chinese themselves? I heard that Hong Kong people were educated and civilised. It seems I was wrong."

A visitor from Shenzhen said: "We are here to shop. It helps the economy of Hong Kong. I do not understand why they do not welcome us."

Protest convenor Ronald Leung Kam-shing said he was pleased with the response after organising the campaign online.

"We do not need political parties. Just through the internet we can get so many people to come out," he said. "I think the government should listen to our voice seriously. It has to stop allowing Chinese tourists into Hong Kong … We do not want them."

Among the protesters but keeping a low profile was primary school teacher Alpais Lam Wai-sze, who shot to fame for swearing at police officers over their handling of a Falun Gong protest.

A pro-Beijing group, Voice of Loving Hong Kong, staged a rival "Welcome to Hong Kong" campaign on Canton Road. About 10 members distributed leaflets wishing visitors a happy stay.

Tourism from the mainland has boomed as the nation's economy has grown and rules forcing visitors to join tour groups have been eased. Some 40.8 million mainland visitors came last year.

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This article is now closed to comments

oxymoron15
As much as we like to condemn these unruly protesters in the streets to distinguish us apart from the uncivils but deep down inside probably most of us are just as full of resentment toward the mainlanders. You don't like the word "resentment "? How about annoyance? You can sugarcoat with all the political correctness you want, but we are destined to share a common problem: claustrophobia compounded by the fact that we are surrounded by aliens that do not abide by our cultures.
-----
Here is a little polygraph test to see if whether you do have a big heart or if you are in denial or simply a hyopcrit: Has a thought even crept into your mind that you would want to avoid districts or places full of mainland tourists ? If the answer is yes, congrats you share the same agenda as those protestors. If no, congrats you are truly in a class of your own. Bravo!
chanaa
gotta love HK. Its ok if their cousins bring the $$ to the economy, but other than that, stay the hell away. Without china, hk will still be crawling itself out of the 2008 crisis..
you just have to take the bad with the good, cant pick and choose.
superdx
Gladly take a cheap bowl of wonton noodles over the overpriced EVERYTHING we have now
Bo Xilai
Tiananmen... Now that was a lack of respect for free speech. Ask those mowed down by tanks if their rights were respected.
whymak
Bo Xilai:
Show me a picture of one single person that was mowed down by a tank. If you can't, I call you a liar.
On the other hand, I have seen pictures of PRC soldiers killed by rioters, with one burned to a crisp. These rioters were not students. Students killed off Tiananmen -- there you go with you lies again about Tiananmen -- were collateral casualties, who were there fraternizing with rioters at the barricades.
TheComprador
Hong Kong people don't hate our fellow kin. We love China.
We're just sick and tired of how crowded/polluted our city has become, and we have so little say in our future. Our northern comrades should be able to sympathise with us. The "****s" are just a convenient scapegoat, an easy target to vent our frustration.
Waving colonial flags is unhelpful and misleading. We don't want the Brits back. We don't want to be subject to ANY colonial powers. We just want to run our own city, our way.
anson
You are running it your way. There's no Brit rule, no Mainland rule. You have CY, your leader. He has power so don't say he doesn't. The power to use economic sanctions against a sovereign nation, the power to make sure none of his political rivals escapes when having illegal structures, the power to launch aborted education initiatives. He is so powerful he surely wouldn't structure the economy to rely just on finance and tourism, would he? No. Relax. CY is a Hong Konger. He is yours. Good Luck!
Dai Muff
There are even mainlanders who no longer like coming here because it is too crowded. They are hardly racist against themselves.
changoleon
Sheung Shui is becoming a shopping paradise for mainlanders at the expense of locals. Jewelry and expensive brand name shops are forcing out of business those who can't pay the high rents. Landmark the only mall in Sheung Shui has now more jewelry shops than anything else. The MTR station is completely saturated with way too many people and parallel shoppers that makes it difficult to walk. If you are going to work good luck if you find a seat in first class. It seem it's getting worse every day. Cheers.
honger
"Should Hong Kong's freedom of speech protect slurs and abuse used in anti-mainlander protests?"
Slurs and abuse directed at anybody should be properly dealt with in court. This is what a civilised society is all about.
One can cite freedom of speech, democractic rights, etc, but it is the victim's democratic right to be treated fairly that is at stake here. Such an Orwellian nightmare in this city.

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