Occupy Central

OCCUPY CENTRAL - DAY 17: Full coverage of the day's events

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 14 October, 2014, 5:52am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 15 October, 2014, 4:42pm

Good evening and welcome to our ongoing live coverage of Hong Kong's Occupy movement.

Hundreds of police with power tools tore down protesters’ barricades on Queensway in Admiralty this morning, following a swiftly executed dawn operation to remove a number of blockades in Causeway Bay.

In Tseung Kwan O, anti-Occupy protesters defied a court order and once again blocked the entrances to the Apple Daily newspaper headquarters, delaying the paper's delivery for a second day.

12am: And with that, we're wrapping up today's live blog. It's been an action-packed last few hours, with the re-occupation of Lung Wo Road in Admiralty and speculation that police are planning to tear down barricades in Mong Kok early on Wednesday. We will resume the live blog at 5am, so stay tuned for all the latest on the pro-democracy protests.

11.50pm: The top mainland representative in Hong Kong said Beijing had “prepared for the worst” fearing the Occupy Central protests would drag on “for some time”.

Zhang Xiaoming, director of the central government’s liaison office in Hong Kong, made the remark to members of the city’s main pro-government party in Shenzhen on Sunday, but did not elaborate.

For the full SCMP story click here

Watch: Protesters re-occupy Lung Wo Rd. in Admiralty after clash with police

11.45pm: A student from Polytechnic University said pro-democracy protesters' "re-occupation" of Lung Wo Road is a "small victory" for the movement, especially after police tore down the barricades on Queensway this morning.

The road is adjacent to the avenue that fronts CY Leung's office. "We expressed our sincerity when we left Lung Wo Road [last week]. We are forced to take it back ... We need more bargaining chips [for future talks]," said the student.

Lau I-lung, a spokesman for the student activist group Scholarism, said neither they nor the Federation of Students initiated the move to reclaim the road. He said they were only observers.

But he said authorities "ambushing" protest zones, removing barriers and refusing to speak to students might have triggered the latest events. "I think tonight's action was triggered by this," he said.

Several hundred protesters are gathered in front of the chief executive's office, while others are setting up layers and layers of fencing and concrete boards on Lung Wo Road, where all lanes are now blocked.

11.30pm: Causeway Bay: There's a more alert atmosphere in Causeway Bay after news of the tense stand-off on Lung Wo Road. More police, numbering around 100, have been deployed to the area.

An estimated 200 protesters are now camped out on Yee Wo Street, near Hennessy. Some protesters are starting to put on face masks and goggles.

11.15pm: Mong Kok: Protesters were almost hit when bags of rubbish were hurled from a nearby building. The white bags were filled with what looked like dead insects and leaves, and oozed with a yellow-brown sludge.

Kate Wong, a witness, said: "I heard a loud noise and when I walked over, I saw people had scattered and some people were washing brown stuff off their arms."

Police set up a cordon and some officers were sent up to the building, Cornwall Court, to investigate, but they were not allowed in by security guards. Protesters have surrounded the building, demanding that the guards allow the officers in.

It had been largely uneventful all evening, with dozens of anti-triad police clad in black vests patrolling the area.

People Power legislator Albert Chan Wai-yip and fellow member Tam Tak-chi had earlier urged protesters to "take Thursday off" from the camp and help other protesters in Admiralty surround the Legislative Council complex, on the day that Leung Chun-ying will face a question-and-answer session with lawmakers.

"We must prevent him from leaving until he answers for his secret HK$50 million payout," Tam said. "This is another way we can scale up this movement."

Meanwhile, TV crews are watching a thin barricade at the junction of Nathan Road and Dundas Street, in case that is the starting point when police swoop in to clear blockades.

11.05pm: Lung Wo Road remained blocked off to traffic. Protesters have moved in more barricades to seal off the road, effectively expanding the Admiralty protest site.

10.50pm: More on how the stand-off on Lung Wo Road started: A dozen students had rushed to the westbound side of Lung Wo Road, with one of them climbing onto a road barrier between the west and eastbound lanes. He was pulled back by policemen.

Fearing he would be arrested, crowds rushed in to shield him with umbrellas. More protesters came in from both sides of the road, ignoring the vehicles that were still passing.

In response, police raised a red flag and brought out their batons.

10.44pm: Protesters have cleared a lane so police could retreat. The crowds started cheering as officers began backing away and making their way to the government headquarters nearby. Police are setting up more barricades there.

WATCH: Crowds cheer as police retreat after a clash on Lung Wo Road

10.14pm: Admiralty: Dozens of police with batons, helmets and shields arrive after protesters rushed to Lung Wo Road, triggering a stand-off.

Police wanted to arrest one protester and more officers came for back-up, reporters at the scene said. The officers were carrying batons and a flag that warned people not to cross police cordons.

Police were momentarily surrounded, however, when hundreds of protesters arrived, chanting and jeering. One officer pleaded for calm and for the demonstrators to disperse peacefully.

However, police began pushing protesters at the Central-bound side of the road, and one or two protesters were hit with batons.

The Federation of Students said pepper spray was fired at the site, and some journalists reported being hit, according to initial reports.

9.45pm: A soccer fan carrying a pro-Occupy Central placard was barred from entering the Hong Kong Stadium to watch tonight’s Hong Kong vs Argentina match.

“The security guard checked my bag … and found the placard. They refused to let me in, and said this is the order from their superiors," said Wong Man-lee, 26, who paid HK$1,800 to watch the game.

Wong said she got the placard, featuring a yellow umbrella and the words “support Hong Kong”, from people distributing them near the stadium.

"[The guards] said I could put it down and get it back when I leave. They also said the placard was provocative, but I just don't understand that," said Wong, who was allowed in when she dropped the sign.

Wong said “hundreds of other fans with the placards” were refused entry. She asked to meet a representative of the Hong Kong Football Association about it, to no avail.

Argentina score 7-0 against Hong Kong so far. All the latest on our live blog.

9.05pm: Civic Party lawmaker Alan Leong Kah-hit revealed the four urgent questions about Occupy that would be posed to Hong Kong's security chief Lai Tung-kwok at a Legislative Council meeting tomorrow. They are:

1. According to international standards, police should use tear gas when violent clashes occur and the crowd refuse to stop their advance after warnings. Why would the police use tear gas on September 28? (Question by lawmaker Frederick Fung Kin-kee)

2. What is the approval mechanism behind the use of tear gas? Is it necessary to consult the Chief Executive? (Cyd Ho Sau-lan)

3. The police reacted slowly to clashes in Mong Kok. Are they indulging violence? (Helena Wong Pik-wan)

4. A police banner warns protesters of tear gas on one side, while the other side of it warns them of gun shots. When and why are those confusing banners made? (Kwok Ka-ki)

The questions are part of moves in Legco to inquire further into the pro-democracy movement, including its finances, and how police handled the protests.

8.45pm: Admiralty: People guarding protest barricades at the east and west ends of Harcourt Road are contemplating what to do in case police try to dismantle their makeshift blockades. About 20 protesters are on sentry duty at both the Central-bound and Wan Chai ends of Harcourt.

John Lam, 23, one of the sentries on Connaught Road Central, said the six-lane thoroughfare was not strategic enough to hold off an advance towards the Harcourt protest site, as police could enter via Cotton Tree Drive instead.

“It would be quite pointless if there are only a dozen of us sitting here and we get arrested at this moment,” Lam said. Still, “it's not worth retreating even before the police take any action".

Those on the Wan Chai side said they would decide if they should strengthen their roadblocks after a meeting with student activist groups and pan-democrats tonight. Some barricade guards noted that their opinions were not considered in previous meetings.

Vincent Lau, 17, who helps around 20 others secure two roadblocks at the Cotton Tree Drive flyover, leading to Harcourt, said they did not take orders from “anyone who claims to be the organiser”.

"We will sit before the roadblock if officers try to remove it," Lau said. The existing roadblock comprises iron fences, umbrellas and unused building materials. Lau said they would add fortifications to it later this evening.

Protesters stopped building a new line of defence at the junction of Rodney Street and Drake Street after two plain-clothes policemen warned them that the structure could pose a danger to the public, and that it was illegal to block the road. The police officers left after demonstrators started jeering and chanting.

8.25pm: Causeway Bay: A man holding a torch started repeatedly flashing the light at protesters and shouting at them for blocking part of the road. “We are all Chinese people. You think you are Hongkongers but not Chinese,” he yelled.

Demonstrators told him to “go back to China”.

Earlier this afternoon, an irate woman tried to tear away pro-Occupy messages that were taped to or strung across the barricades. Three female protesters responded by holding up a white umbrella on which was written a message urging more harmony among Hongkongers.

7.45pm: Mong Kok: Police's warning of an imminent clearing of barricades has failed to sour the mood at the Mong Kok protest camp, where an estimated 100 people are gathered and surrounded by dozens of onlookers. Several people who have just finished work are joining the sit-in, while others are observing the goings-on.

There is no sign of police movement so far. Student Jack Lau, 19, said he was prepared to stand his ground. "I know [the police] will be coming. I hope they will act with restraint," he said.

"Their actions have been quite dubious recently. It was obviously a coordinated effort," Lau said, speculating on the timing of the tearing-down of barricades after a masked mob tried to do the same in Admiralty.

S.P. Lau, a protester who works in nearby Sham Shui Po, said if police came to clear the area, he would not resist. "If Mong Kok is lost, I guess I will just go to Admiralty," Lau said.

7.30pm: How do Hongkongers feel about Occupy’s future after police tore down some barricades today? Here is what people are telling SCMP reporters in the streets:

Danny Lee, 24, insurance agent: “I have mixed feelings. On one hand, I am glad because the buses are running. But on the other hand, I am worried about the prospects of the movement. I support the students.”

Mrs Yip, 63, grandmother: “Hong Kong shouldn’t become like the mainland. The Communist Party is corrupt and likes to bully the weak and the poor. Whether we continue the Occupy [movement] or not depends on how the government acts. So far [officials] have not even attempted to shift, so why should we?”

Eddy Wong, 30, insurance agent: “I agree with the police’s action. I’m happy that the road was opened and I’m able to get a bus. [For days] I had to take the MTR or walk to Victoria Park before I could catch a bus.”

Ming Tong, office worker: “I haven’t been much affected [by the blockades] anyway – as long as the MTR is working.”

Mark Lee, 27, Hongkonger residing in the United States: “I flew back last Friday. [My parents] think it’s unsafe for me to come back ... Part of the reason we emigrated to the States were concerns about Hong Kong’s political situation. That’s the difference with our generation: when we feel there are problems, we come to the streets to do something about it.

“After almost two weeks of protests, the government has not done anything or even compromised. That makes me angry. There’s little chance of protesters winning this time, but there is still hope."

7.15pm: The Hospital Authority said the total number of people who have sought help from accident and emergency services rose to 188 since the protests broke out, with six new cases since yesterday.

Of the total, 181 have been discharged, while those in hospital are in stable condition.

6.50pm: Normal operations resumed for 60 buses after police cleared both ends of Queensway of barricades, assistant commissioner for transport Albert Su said in a regular press briefing.

"We endeavour to work with bus companies to restore more bus services," Su said. Trams which run from Kennedy Town to Happy Valley were also running.

This means the discretionary bus route 40M, from Central to Pokfield Road, will be discontinued starting tomorrow.

However, 11 bus routes via Admiralty are still suspended and 216 buses must take detours, Su said. A bus terminal on Rodney Street remains shut because protesters are holding a sit-in there.

About 23 minibus routes all over Hong Kong are still affected, he said, and there is no guarantee that the traffic situation would improve. “More people will start to use their own vehicles again and this will add pressure to the roads,” he said.

Su urged people to stick to public transport for now.

Undersecretary for Home Affairs Florence Hui said the public sentiment against the movement had reached a “breaking point”. She urged protesters to bear in mind the well-being of others and to leave peacefully as soon as possible.

6.30pm: Nearly 100 people are still occupying Yee Wo Street in front of Sogo department store, forced to concentrate their numbers there after police removed most of the barricades. Buses have for the first time in two weeks started travelling on two lanes of Yee Wo Street.

Meanwhile, in Admiralty, more people have started trickling in at dusk. Two people on wheelchairs arrived, saying they came by MTR and planned to stick around until 9pm. "I'm not afraid of police using violence. I'm more concerned about the safety of those teenagers,” one of the two, Paul Lee, said.

Towards Queensway, around 150 protesters remained sitting on Rodney Street, facing a police cordon. After hours at the sit-in, five protesters feel the need to stand up and stretch. “We do some exercises to energise ourselves,” one of them said.

5.35pm: Police said they would soon take action in Mong Kok after removing barricades in Causeway Bay and Admiralty this morning.

Police spokesman Steve Hui Chun-tak, speaking at a regular press briefing, said officers would remove big obstacles in Mong Kok to restore partial - if not full - traffic. 

He described Mong Kok as a "high-risk area" and prone to commotions.

Hui stressed that the planned action was not a clearance (ejecting protesters from the area) but a removal of barricades. But he urged protesters not to interfere with the officers. "Otherwise, they will be removed," he said. "We do not rule out [the possibility of] making arrests."

For the full SCMP story click here

4.45pm: Causeway Bay: About 10 tramways union members held a quick demonstration, demanding that protesters clear the roads and allow tram services to resume fully.

Holding placards, the Hong Kong Tramway Workers Union members said they had to take “dramatic” pay cuts due to the suspensions of several lines between Sheung Wan and Causeway Bay. Tram captains’ salaries are hourly-based, so they rely on overtime work to boost their income.

The union members said they made less than HK$3,000 over the past two weeks. They also complained of higher transport costs, as they have to take taxis and the MTR due to bus route disruptions.

The protesters remained silent and the tram drivers left within minutes.

4.30pm: A bride and groom on a mad dash to City Hall almost missed their appointment after getting stuck behind a police cordon in Admiralty, just as officers were wrapping up the demolitions of protest barricades.

The couple and their wedding party, including a photographer, had apparently gone to the wrong marriage registry and had to rush to City Hall in Central.

The bride, in a white gown, was seen running barefoot while holding her heels, hoping to cross into Central. However, when they reached the cordon between Lippo Centre and the High Court in Admiralty at around 11am, officers would not let them through.

The groom pleaded with the officers, but they were not allowed to pass due to safety reasons. Officers nearby were cutting up the bamboo that protesters used to fortify their barricades.

The distraught couple were asked to take a footbridge instead. According to reporters at the scene, the couple made it to City Hall in time, but they declined to speak to the press.

3.45pm: Protesters are holding sit-ins in front of police cordons on Rodney Street and Tamar Street, two roads that lead to Queensway. Around 100 protesters are sitting, chatting and reading at one end of Rodney Street, in front of three layers of police.

Protesters said they were there to prevent the officers from advancing to the main protest site on Harcourt Road in Admiralty.

Meanwhile, around 70 protesters, joined by People Power lawmaker Albert Chan Wai-yip, are sitting peacefully at the Tamar Street junction. Twenty-eight policemen are standing guard.

3.25pm: New information has emerged about a second, more lucrative offer to buy Leung Chun-ying’s former company DTZ on the same day he agreed to an HK$50 million deal with Australian firm UGL, raising more questions about Leung’s conduct during that period.

The second offer, made by Tianjin Innovation Financial Investment Company according to the Chinese press, exceeded UGL’s bid by £90 million.

The existence of the second bid is likely to fuel more questions about Leung’s final days as a DTZ board member, and in particular, whether he was able to provide impartial advice on the merits of the second offer given that he stood to gain millions if UGL won the bid.

For the full SCMP story click here

2.40pm: China expert and former journalist Ching Cheong said the Occupy Central movement had been successful in some respects, even if the demands they set out were not fulfilled.

“The movement has successfully disintegrated violent police action. … It has also made sure that any proposal made [in line with the National People's Congress Standing Committee’s decision] on August 31 will not be successful” because of “negative sentiment” against it, Ching said.

Ching also said the government needed to hold talks with the Occupy leaders, even if they did not represent the majority.

2.05pm: Executive Councillor Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee and Democrats Chairwoman Emily Lau Wai-hing square off in a debate at the Foreign Correspondents' Club in Central. 

WATCH: Hong Kong police tear down protesters’ barricades in Admiralty

1.35pm: A spokesman for the coalition of truck drivers, Stanley Chiang Chi-wai, says members have not ruled out taking action to clear barricades blocking major roads on Hong Kong Island and in Mong Kok themselves, despite the police action this morning.

"It's better than nothing," he said, adding that roads in the city would remain congested.

Chiang says the coalition will meet tomorrow morning to discuss the matter and has urged protesters to leave Harcourt Road before Thursday.

"We might instead go to talk to protesters and convince them to leave," Chiang says, adding that an open letter would be issued to the Federation of Students this afternoon.

1.10pm: Queensway is now unoccupied and traffic is flowing relatively freely. Protesters appear to have abandoned the plan for a sit-in on the main road.

Police have said more officers will be drafted into the area to stop protesters from re-occupying the six-lane thoroughfare.

Police senior superintendent Kong Man-keung reiterated in a press briefing that the operation earlier today was to remove roadblocks to reduce traffic disruption in Hong Kong, not to clear out protesters. He said it took more than an hour-and-a-half to clear the barricades.

Chief Superintendent Duncan McCosh, officer in charge on the ground, said: "Our priority was to focus on the very significant barricades, primarily with a focus on the westbound, looking at two issues: public safety, because they used very substantial barriers, obviously creating a potential problem for any emergency vehicle coming through, and general convenience of the public.

"We appreciate that feelings are running high from many members of the community about this and we're caught in the middle and trying to do the best that we can for all parties."

He added: "It's been very long hours, there have been some trying conditions, they [police officers] face abuse, primarily verbal but they've been involved in some altercations as well, so it's been a tough job for the men and women on the ground."

1.02pm: Here are a couple of shots from the earlier barricade clearance:

Meanwhile in Mong Kok two men dressed in construction worker outfits attempt to string a metal cable across Nathan Road. It's unclear why they are doing so, although one claims he wants to help protesting students reinforce their barricade.

Eventually protesters and police tell them to stop and after being questioned by officers they leave the scene.

12.28pm: For the first time in more than a fortnight westbound vehicles are travelling along Queensway onto Queen's Road Central.

12.20pm: Some 50 protesters gather at a bus stop off Queensway to discuss further strategies to guard the protest site at Admiralty.

Protesters, wearing goggles and masks, say the police are heavily armed and wanted to test how protesters would protect the site during their operation to remove barricades this morning.

One protester says that they were sent to three different road junctions around Admiralty to guard the protest site.

Meanwhile, more than 100 police officers can be seen from Queensway and Rodney Street.

12.10pm: The tension between police and protesters appears to have eased a little in Admiralty.

A female officer is using a shopping cart to ferry water and isotonic drinks from the crowd in front of the Lippo Centre to the small group of protesters staging a sit-in on the road.

Meanwhile, westbound traffic on Queensway will be allowed to go into Queen's Road Central after a lorry finishes loading wooden boards demolished by the police in the operation to remove the barricades.

12.05pm: Occupy Central has certainly kept Post cartoonist Harry Harrison busy recently.

Here’s Harry’s View on Hong Kong's historic civil disobedience movement as events unfolded over the last two months.

READ: A cartoon timeline: Harry's View on Occupy Central

12.01pm: Cleaners are now tidying up the eastbound lane on Queensway. Traffic is expected to resume soon.

A short while ago, three container trucks led by a police van drove along the eastbound lane.

Noon: Apple Daily says at least 50 of its editorial staff, including frontline reporters, have received harassing and abusive phone calls, while its online server has been hacked.

A senior member of editorial staff received more than 250 phone calls a day at one stage, with the caller typically hanging up once the member of staff answered. Another member of staff was disturbed by one phone call a minute. The newspaper says that since last Wednesday, some editorial staff had received calls from abusive callers, who then hung up.

Apple Daily says its delivery was delayed again this morning as a result of an anti-Occupy protesters’ blockade outside its headquarters in Tseung Kwan O.

This is despite the fact that the media company obtained a court injunction to keep any protesters from outside its office.

11.46am: The main protest site at Admiralty is quiet with few protesters and many empty tents.

Protesters, mostly volunteers, seem relaxed despite the removal of barricades on Queensway.

11:44am: For the first time in two weeks, private vehicles pass through Queensway's westbound lanes and turn into Cotton Tree Drive.

They include a coach, trucks and private cars.

11.40am: A police spokesman tells protesters via a megaphone that officers will let them reclaim their tents from under the flyover. “

If you agree to this, then come up one by one,” he says.

“Do you guarantee that we can all come back to where we're sitting here, safely?” a protester asks.

The police spokesman says they can. Police are holding hands to form a human barrier so protesters can collect their belongings from under the flyover, two at a time.

11.30am: Some 20 protesters are sitting on an eastbound lane of Queensway. Among them is Edward Chin Chi-kin, a core member of Occupy Central's finance group.

About 100 protesters look on from the Lippo Centre, including Labour Party lawmakers Dr Fernando Cheung Chiu-hung and Peter Cheung Kwok-che.

11.25am: Gay Chan is enjoying a special 34th birthday today by sitting on Rodney Street in Admiralty, confronting two lines of police officers after barricades were removed on Queensway.

"It's ridiculous!" Chan says, adding that the police operation was a waste of time because protesters would build new road blocks tonight. "The barricades are to protect us," he says.

Chan says he is here to safeguard the city's freedom and rights and make sure "the one county two systems" promised by Beijing is implemented in Hong Kong. "We don't want to be part of China. We have different characters," Chan says.

He says there is little protesters can do right now other than staying at the protest scene.

11.20am: Outside the High Court, a dozen street sweepers help to sweep away plastic straps and tape on the street, while police officers remove barricades.

On Queensway, under the Cotton Tree Drive flyover, police officers are moving bamboo sticks onto a rubbish truck.

More than 40 metal fences, wooden boards and other roadblocks are still on the roadside and are expected to be removed.

Several tents and a protesters' resources centre are still on the eastbound lanes under the flyover, while some 100 protesters are either sitting down on the junction with Cotton Tree Drive or looking on outside the Lippo Centre.

11.15am: While tensions are high in Admiralty, the Occupy site in Mong Kok has been largely peaceful this morning bar the odd heated debate. Some 80 protesters present.

Up to 50 police officers are patrolling the area and they have stepped in quickly to mediate minor disputes.

Young protester Roy Wong says he is aware of the police operation in Admiralty, but he has no plan to go there to support the protesters yet.

"I am concerned the police will take action here too, but there is nothing we can do but continue to stay," he says.

11.08am: In Admiralty, protester Bert Cheng Man-lok is wearing taekwondo armour, covering his torso and legs. He is in tears.

“I used to think of Hong Kong's police as one of the best in the world, but even though they know taking down the barricades might compromise our safety, they're blatantly disregarding our safety,” says the university student, 22.

“I doubt that the once stellar reputation of the force will survive this. The barricades are our only defence against any anti-Occupy people charging in with weapons.

“The police told us to give up the road because of Hongkongers’ right to the roads. On September 27, when they denied female protesters a chance to use a toilet, or dragged them on the ground, why weren't they concerned with rights then?”

11.04am: Protesters on Harcourt Road are calling on police not to go any further with their operation.

Tensions are high as police try to pass through the protest site, with protesters refusing to let them in.

10.54am: There’s a minor sit-in at the junction of Queensway and Tamar Street as some 20 protesters refuse to leave.

10.45am: All the barricades on Queensway have been demolished.

Traffic on all lanes is expected to pass through after officers removed all road block materials onto rubbish trucks.

10.40am: Meanwhile, in Causeway Bay, an unidentified person throws a glass mirror out of the window of a fourth floor apartment on Yee Wo Street.

Pedestrians scatter on the street below as the glass smashes into bits of shrapnel.

One middle-aged man is hit. Police ask if he requires medical attention but the man declines.

Police have blocked the area off.

10.35am: Four or five layers of the road blocks built by protesters on Queensway remain. Police have so far only cleared one layer.

It’ll be a while before traffic returns to normal on Queensway.

10.31am: Police reiterate that their operation seeks to clear the east and westbound lanes of Queensway for traffic to pass through.

10.25am: A small group of protesters sitting on Queensway are arguing with a police spokesman, who is speaking on a loudhailer.

The spokesman starts every sentence with the line: "Thank you for keeping calm and safe..." as the protesters jeer him.

Police: "We haven't used riot gear since this morning and we thank you for keeping calm. You've occupied the streets for 17 days and stripped people of their rights to use the streets."

Protester: "Have you buried your conscience? We're defenceless citizens and we obviously can't match your gear. How far are you going to go just to have your mouths fed?"

10.20am: Scores of officers are still removing barricades. The bamboo barricade built by protesters yesterday outside the Bank of China has been demolished.

Another group of police officers armed with small shields has formed a cordon and they are in a stand-off with about 150 protesters, who are calm.

10.16am: A section of Queensway is now locked down by police.

Near the Bank of China Building, a young woman says they are only a group of weaponless students and residents, and police should not use force.

10.15am: There are scores of police equipped with all manner of hand tools to remove the barriers.

At least one giant crane has been brought into help with the operation.

10.12am: Officers have formed a cordon across Queensway to stop protesters from interfering with the clearance.

The barricades are being loaded onto a large yellow truck.

10.10am: Police are working very quickly, using power tool and cutters to clear the metal barricades.

Police in protective gear vastly outnumber the handful of protesters milling around. It is clear that this is a well planned operation.

10.06am: Hundreds of police have converged on Admiralty and are tearing up the protesters' tents and using chainsaws to cut through the bamboo barricades erected yesterday.

10am: This composite photo shows police gathering at the four corners of the Causeway Bay protest site this morning.

Click on the image to enlarge it.

9.40am: Chairman of the pro-Beijing Democratic Alliance for Betterment of Hong Kong Tam Yiu-chung, says Beijing is worried about the Umbrella Movement because it bears signs of the colour revolution in other countries, which Beijing believes were pushed by "foreign forces", such as students being the vanguards, a weak government and support from Western media and politicians.

Tam says "it is impossible" for Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying to step down because he is "simply executing the central government's decisions". He says students are demanding for things impossible to happen.

"We all understand that it's impossible to ask the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress to retrieve its decision and apologise," says Tam.

Tam believes even with screening, if a "one man, one vote" system is in place for the 2017 chief executive election, the city’s political environment will be different because the elected leader will have to be responsible to the people and pan-democrats can be "king makers".

He says Occupy protesters should move to other areas and let major roads open because many businesses have been affected and citizens have become "impatient and disgruntled" by the inconvenience. He says he is worried that the continuation of Occupy will cause more conflict between people with opposite opinions.

9.30am: We stopped some people going to work in Central this morning to ask their views on the protests:

Yeung Shing-kit, 30, accountant: I still support Occupy Central. “A lot of people complain about how it's making it hard for them to get to work but it doesn't seem so bad to me.
I used to take the tram from Wan Chai to get to work, now I take the MTR but I decided to try walking today. It took me a little less than 30 minutes which is actually comparable to taking the MTR.
The police taking down the barricades is fine, but I don't get the thugs we saw yesterday. The police have the right and the authority to take down barricades, not everyone does.”

Tung Tsit-shan, 37, works in finance, lives in Mid-Levels: “It hasn't affected my life that much, though I am enjoying the cleaner air since there are far fewer buses and cars on the road
I'm starting to get a little worried that it might end tragically, because we saw masked men with knives performing what looked a lot like violent acts yesterday
The police obviously have to do their job and undeniably clearing barricades could be part of their duties
I can't say which side is right or wrong, but I am impressed by how passionately the students are fighting for what they believe in.”

David Cooke, 34, works in finance, Australian, lives in Wan Chai: “I thought it was great to start with, but I think they've pushed their agenda a bit too far. All the momentum was in the first week, and they've managed to engage parts of Hong Kong that weren't engaged in the democracy argument. However, I think what's happening now is that mainstream Hong Kong is looking at the protests going ‘I don't understand it’, and the protests are being corrupted by the anti-Occupy protesters as well. So there's confusion, there's disarray and it's not going to end in a positive statement.
You had the anti-Occupy people who were wearing masks occupying the site of the Occupy protests, so you read that and you go, ‘I don't understand what's going on’. And you see last night the students were using masks as well, so you can't really determine who's for democracy and who's not.”

Kevin Tsang, 50, works in finance, lives in To Kwa Wan: “In the past I made money by flipping property and now you see some young people who feel like that's their only ticket to upward mobility, and yet more people who say the protesters won't have good job prospects ahead of them. From things like that you can see that the government has lost touch with Hongkongers.
When you walk past the protest areas, you see protesters taking the initiative and caring for each other, like building sturdier stairs to cross the concrete road dividers.
This shows that Hongkongers have become much more civic minded, unlike the past when all Hongkongers cared about was money. When I was young, I flipped property and cared a lot about getting rich. Before 1997, we were all content to live in a fish tank. But money really isn't everything.
Everything we do has a price, and the easiest way to satisfy the people whose lives are affected is for the government to show that it cares and do something. It doesn't even have to be a major compromise.”

9.20am: On Harcourt Road in Admiralty, 19-year-old protester Ming Yip, a Year Two Chinese studies student from Chinese University, is busy reading.

He says he hasn’t spent enough time on his schoolwork because of his participation in the protests.

"Like last night, when my friends were discussing political development, it's strange to take out some Chinese readings and read ... But I do need to read these to prepare for tutorial presentations."

Ming had borrowed a tent from a friend, and plans to stay at the protest, especially if the police or anti-Occupy protesters try to clear barricades again.

9.10am: Commuters in Causeway Bay have conflicting views about the presence of the protests in the area.

"In the beginning I supported the students and their quest for democracy," says Zoe Hui, standing and waiting for a bus to head home on the newly reopened westbound Yee Wo Street. "But the movement has really affected people lives … if this continues, honestly, I'm going to get annoyed."

Hui, a cashier who works overnight at a restaurant in Causeway Bay, lives in Kam Tin. She says normally she could just hop on a bus and get home in an hour, but in the past week she has had to take the MTR, which took her almost double the time.

However, for Patrick Li, who works overnight in security, the inconvenience caused by the Occupy movement is tolerable. "I live in Hung Hom, I have lots of ways to get home," he says. "It's not a problem at all. I understand what they are fighting for, and the inconvenience caused is definitely acceptable."

8.55am: Alex Chow Yong-kang, secretary-general of the Federation of Students, visited the Causeway Bay Occupy zone this morning, and said none of the protest sites in Hong Kong would be given up.

"Occupy will not retreat - there's no way to retreat," the student leader said, blaming CY Leung's hard-line stance and his repeated declaration yesterday that he would not resign.

He said the dwindling number of protesters does not undermine the power and effects of the movement, adding that the biggest fear of protesters is the perceived collusion between the police and the anti-Occupy demonstrators.

7.37am: Crowd estimates at protest sites:

Causeway Bay: 40-50

Mong Kok: 80 

Admiralty: It is unclear how many people are in the approximately 750 tents. The figure has been revised up from 400 to include tents at Tim Mei Avenue.7.27am: Protester Kevin Ko Tin-fai, who has been helping organise supplies and barricades and dealing with housekeeping duties at Occupy Causeway Bay since day one, says protesters plan to build new barricades.

"After seeing the malicious action towards protesters in Admiralty yesterday, these road blocks are put in place to keep large and hostile crowds from directly getting to protesters," says Ko.

The new barricades - which will be made from whatever materials protesters can find - will be set up in front of Regal Hotel and on Hennessy Road and in front of Hysan Place, he says.

6.40am: Protester KK Wong, who works in the computer industry, sits at the Causeway Bay barricades with his back facing police officers.

"Watch this space - let's see if what happened in Admiralty yesterday will happen here today," he says. "I am afraid, but it's because of this that I have to stay here and protect the others."

Almost every night groups of people have tried to disrupt the protest in Causeway Bay, he says. A frequent common feature was their Cantonese with a heavy mainland accent, he says.

Causeway Bay resident Dee Sum, 34, says he doesn't approve of the police operation.

"As a Hongkonger, we bounce back," says the accountant. "We demonstrated that resolve in Admiralty yesterday."


A female doctor, who works in Causeway Bay, says she is "very happy to see barriers removed by police". She doesn't want to be named. 

"I'm a doctor and my patients have suffered from these actions because they can't get to my clinic easily and some of them are cancer patients and travel long distances," she says.

6.55am: An update from Tseung Kwan O: Anti-Occupy protesters defy court order, block Apple Daily delivery

Read the full story here

6.45am: Admiralty: On Harcourt Road, a student speaks through a louspeaker: "Good morning everyone. There are 300 cops in Causeway Bay, some are removing barricades while others have surrounded protesters [...] Please go to Causeway Bay to help."

6.32am: As westbound traffic is restored on Yee Wo Street and a first truck passes through, protester Dennis Mok Yin-yuen, a first-year university student, says he was angry at police for shrinking the occupied area in Causeway Bay.

Mok said he was worried Monday's turn of events in Admiralty would repeat itself in Causeway Bay on Tuesday: first police remove barricades, then anti-Occupy groups appear. No major scuffles with Occupy critics have been reported so far on Tuesday. 

6.28am: A police officer says the operation in Causeway Bay has ended. 

6.12am: Police say they want to reopen the westbound lane of Yee Wo Street and Jardine's Bazaar to traffic. 

6.05am: Meanwhile in Admiralty, only eight police officers stand by idly under the Justice Drive flyover as bamboo and metal barricades block Queensway and protesters sleep in their tents. 

In Mong Kok, some 100 protesters are camping out at the junction of Nathan Road and Argyle Street. 

6am: Ho Man-chi, 23, a social worker says: "The police came 10 minutes ago and they told us to clear the area. They promised to keep the eastbound lane open for protesters. They want to open the westbound lane for traffic."

5.45am: Some 250 police officers, many carrying shields, have begun removing barricades in Causeway Bay. 

A senior operational commander says they "are clearing obstructions from the road and they are protecting government property."

He says police will not clear Occupy Causeway Bay, addng that barricades around the camp will be replaced by police barriers.

Police have formed a human chain around the protesters, effectively separating them from the barricades, which are being removed by other police officers. 

5.30am: The South China Morning Post's front-page on Tuesday:

5.20am: Excerpts from the Post's coverage of the Occupy movement on Tuesday:

A battle for the streets in Admiralty

"Who can afford to offer HK$2,000 [each] to taxi drivers? A hundred drivers would cost HK$200,000," he said.

Thousands sign petition demanding CY Leung is stripped of honorary title

The appeal – which had more than 7,000 signatures by Sunday evening – calls for Polytechnic University to withdraw the “Honorary Outstanding PolyU Alumni” title given to Leung in 1997.

Activists man barricades they made themselves

"The thing is, the police said this morning they were just retrieving government property when they took away railings and cleared some of our barricades. Now they can't use the same excuse because the bamboo is private property."

Confederation of Trade Unions received grants from US-based NGO according to files sent to media

The senders of the documents, calling themselves Mong Kok Privacy Invaders, said in a note attached to the email that they were "ordinary people" who had their businesses affected by Occupy.

Meanwhile, Webb-site shared the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong's financial statement for 2013. The pro-Beijing political party reported an income of HK$107,238,786.72 last year.  

5.15am: What the front pages of the local papers are saying:

Apple Daily: Fearless “Apple” keeps publishing

Oriental Daily: Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions, Lee Cheuk-yan receive US funds, orchestrate Occupy Central

Ming Pao: More than a hundred masked people tear down barricades with sharp objects

Sing Tao Daily: Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions received HK$20 million in aid from US over past 20 years

4.30am: Click here for a detailed run-down of Monday night's events and here for what happened during the day

Earlier in the night: Australia's Fairfax Media releases another report on Leung Chun-ying, days after it reported on a controversial secret A$7 million payment to the chief executive. 

Their report: Secret A$7m payment to CY Leung agreed to on same day rival bidder trumped UGL offer



New bamboo scaffolding arriving Monday night in Queensway, Admiralty @scmp_news #hongkong #occupycentral

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