Shall we have a peaceful or a violent Christmas Eve in Tsimshatsui tonight? Inspired by their success in spreading holiday fun last Halloween, the Hong Kong Police predictably choose the latter.
After six months of this, we can detect a pattern: when the police steer clear, public gatherings are – all else being equal – far more peaceful. So we must assume that the senior police management are deploying hyped-up armed riot cops on such occasions as a deliberate strategy to engineer physical confrontation. The question is, why? To bump up the number of arrests? To comply with Beijing officials’ demands for tough repression? To claim more overtime? To appease those of their front-line men who sadly seem to enjoy whacking passers-by?
Or, given their profession’s reputation for limited lateral-thinking abilities, do they dementedly believe that they are somehow preserving public order and serving the community’s interests?
(My money would be on the Beijing factor.)
I declare what could turn out to be a five-day Merry Christmas Weekend open with some quick links to interesting things…
Some thoughts on what the Hong Kong government could learn from other authorities’ PR response to a different train-wreck. One problem is that Hong Kong officials’ spinelessness and condescension is not only a colonial hangover, and not only a defensive instinct driven by their own incompetence and lack of legitimacy. It’s also pretty much required by Beijing.
An explanatory leaflet about the Spark Alliance arrests and freezing of funds.
If you need something depressing to curb excessive festive joy, Amnesty International on sexual violence against Hong Kong protests.
The naivety of government supporters who welcome the court decision that Au Nok-hin and Gary Fan were not duly elected.
And of course the Christmas version of the Glory to Hong Kong anthem. And for the uninitiated who don’t get Cantonese opera, an appreciation-with-video of that version.
And if you still don’t get Cantonese opera…
If only the police were as zealous in their quest to prevent actual crimes, like armed robberies (and no, I don’t think what ensued in Tai Po a few evenings ago counts)…
Merry Christmas to all!
It occurs to me that the old schoolyard ditty that sets the lyrics “Fill the school with gasoline” to the tune of “Deck the halls with boughs of holly” has become strangely appropriate to our times.
19:42 25 Dec: Police Arrest Over 100 in Central, Admiralty Last Night
In a clip uploaded at 19:42, the police force said over 100 people were arrested in the vicinity of Admiralty and Central last night (24 Dec). The police said from around 22:00, a large amount of protesters gathered in Causeway Bay and some followed calls on the Internet to protest to Lan Kwai Fong and obstruct business activities there. The police intercepted these people around Justice Drive and Queen’s Road Central. 58M and 47F were arrested, with the smallest being 13yo. A person was found with a laser pointer and was arrested for possession of offensive weapon.
23:02 26 Dec: 43 Arrested for Unlawful Assembly at Midnight in Mong Kok
Police stated that around midnight, protesters gathered at the interjunction of Fife Street and Sai Yeung Choi Street South. In the dispersal operation, a total of 43 people (22M 21F) ranging from 15 y/o to 54 y/o were arrested for unlawful assembly. They have been detained for further investigations and the case has been handed over to Crime Kowloon West Headquarters for follow up.
At around 01:00, police conducted large scale stop and search again and a large group of riot police frisked around 10 people, mainly youngsters, on Fife Street just opposite Argyle Centre. They were asked to kneel or squat down close to the walls, with both arms raised and then had their hands tied behind their backs with cable ties. Press were not allowed to get close during the process.
Monty Python could not better the farce that is now our daily reality.