Hong Kong Police Arrest Eight People in Shopping Mall Protest

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(Bloomberg) -- Hong Kong police arrested eight people protesting in a mall in the New Territories, one of four anti-government demonstrations in shopping centers across the city on Saturday.

The protesters were held for unlawful assembly, assaulting officers or obstructing them in the Tseung Kwan O mall, police said in a post on their Facebook page. The demonstrations at the different shopping centers took place amid a heavy police presence.

Protesters have returned to the city in recent weeks, mainly in smaller groups at malls, after a lull for more than three months because of the coronavirus outbreak and restrictions linked to the pandemic. The arrests last month of prominent pro-democracy figures has raised the ire of resurgent activists, who are demanding among other things greater democracy and an independent inquiry into police conduct.

On Friday, the Independent Police Complaints Council, an agency whose members are appointed by the city’s leader, issued a four-volume report Friday that mainly defended the police force’s response to the often-violent unrest that rocked the Asian financial hub last year.

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam called the report “comprehensive, objective and based on facts.”

The government will address some issues raised in the report but would stop short of setting up an independent inquiry, Lam said. The Independent Commission Against Corruption, the city’s anti-graft body, is looking into 28 cases related to the protests, 26 of which involve police officers, she said.

About 100 protesters congregated on Saturday in the Tseung Kwan O mall before police dispersed them, Radio Television Hong Kong reported. Plainclothes officers arrested some, handcuffing them and making them lie on the ground, according to RTHK.

In a shopping center in Sha Tin, police had to separate two clashing groups and some shops shuttered as tensions rose, it said.

Last month, police arrested 15 people, including prominent pro-democracy activists and a lawmaker, for organizing and participating in unauthorized assemblies in the city.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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