Anti-Occupy Central group storms Mong Kok protest site
Protesters attacked, barriers removed as judge keeps injunction on zones
Chaos continued to reign in Mong Kok yesterday as a group of angry anti-Occupy Central protesters stormed a pro-democracy camp, dismantling barricades and attacking people, among them a prominent pro-democracy activist.
Witnesses said at least 10 men - many wearing face masks to conceal their identity - forcibly removed a section of barricades on Nathan Road near Shantung Street shortly after 3pm.
At least three of the anti-Occupy group were taken away by the police, who later said six people were arrested for common assault in Mong Kok.
The trouble flared as High Court Judge Thomas Au Hing-cheung ordered that three injunction orders covering the Mong Kok and Admiralty protest zones should stay in effect over the weekend until the court decides whether to extend them next week. The court heard submissions from lawyers representing Chiu Luen Public Light Bus Company, Taxi Association, Taxi Drivers and Operators Association and the owner of Citic Tower, who want the injunctions to remain in place. Lawyers for the protesters had no time to present their arguments.
Gladys Li SC, representing protester Fok Wai-pong in the Mong Kok cases, said applicants might seek to clear the obstructions themselves if the order were to extend over the weekend.
"No one wishes to see the outbreak of serious violence in Mong Kok," Li said.
Yesterday's violence - initiated by the anti-Occupy group - came just hours after a video posted on newspaper Apple Daily's website showed three men apparently discussing the removal plan.
The mainly male Chinese group in their 30s began shaking protesters' barriers violently at about 3pm and - according to witnesses - attacked Occupy supporters, raining punches and kicks on a man who tried to throw a bicycle at them.
"I saw at least six rioters punching and kicking protesters," said Avery Ng, the vice-chairman of League of Social Democrats, who was kicked in the stomach. Ng said he saw a journalist being punched in the head as he was taking pictures.
Later in the afternoon, an anti-Occupy protester who tried to remove a barricade there sparked chaos, resulting in the arrest of an Occupy supporter dressed as the comic-book hero Captain America, who has become a fixture at the protests.
Police spokesman Chief Superintendent Steven Hui Wai-tak reiterated that Mong Kok had become increasingly dangerous.
Meanwhile, the atmosphere at the main Admiralty protest site was in stark contrast. A steadily growing crowd of about 1,000 people gathered as the working day finished.
Some took civic classes, others chatted, ate or rested around the semi-permanent encampment of tents as an elderly couple handed out home-made soup while telling the students not to give up.
Additional reporting by Alan Yu and Emily Tsang