Festival Walk in Kowloon Tong reopens following two-month closure due to Hong Kong protests

South China Morning Post

While most shops and restaurants had reopened, stores like Muji and Nike remained closed

South China Morning Post |

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More than 10 of Festival Walk’s 63 escalators remained out of order on Thursday.

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Festival Walk mall in Kowloon Tong reopened on Thursday, after shutting down on November 13 following damage by anti-government protesters. 

But behind the veneer of normality, damaged glass panels had been replaced by white metal fences, while some customers were forced to take detours to get to their destination, with more than a dozen escalators still out of action.

A handful of shops, including Japanese lifestyle chain Muji, sportswear chain Gigasports, Nike and Toys 'R' Us, were still closed, though normal service was resumed at most boutiques and restaurants.

The Singaporean-owned, 1.2 million sq ft shopping-and-office complex became a target on November 12 last year, as black-clad protesters broke glass and railings and clashed with plain-clothes police officers on various levels. A giant Christmas tree went up in flames after it was hit with a petrol bomb.

Festival Walk has been closed since the day it was battered by clashes, though its office tower reopened on November 26.

Of the mall’s 63 escalators, 13 remained out of order, but every floor still had at least one connecting to the storey above.

The two exits facing Tat Chee Avenue and the one leading to the East Rail line were narrowed to only one set of doors, with other doors blocked by white metal sheets.

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The skating rink, a signature facility of the mall, was far from ready to return to business on Thursday, with ponds of water gathered on its surface.

A salesman at Japanese fashion chain Uniqlo said customer numbers were smaller than usual, suggesting that many might not have known the mall had reopened. “But it’s good to return to the same environment,” he said.

A saleswoman from a children’s fashion store said the crowd was about the same as before, with many flocking to restaurants and food courts on Thursday.