HONG KONG (Reuters, Bloomberg) - At least three people were arrested as a group of about 400 people in Hong Kong clashed with police in the latest sign of ongoing tensions caused by China’s influence in the city.
Protesters in Yuen Long, in Hong Kong’s New Territories just a stone’s throw from mainland China, chanted to “cancel the multiple-entry permit” and “topple the Chinese Communist Party”as they complained against so-called parallel traders, who buy goods in Hong Kong to sell at a profit across the border.
Demonstrators blocked the area’s main street with garbage bins, halting traffic. Police used pepper spray and restrained some people. A female protester was bleeding from the nose as police dragged her away.
The demonstration mirrored others in recent weeks targeting mainland Chinese visitors that have tapped a seam of resentment against China, resulting in calls for greater Hong Kong nationalism and even independence from China, nearly three months after police cleared away the last of pro-democracy street protests in the city.
Some Hong Kong residents also blame Chinese traders and investors for driving up prices in the city on everything from baby formula to property.
“We can’t walk, because all their goods pile up like mountains on the streets,” said King Lee, a 23-year-old local resident who was protesting the parallel traders. “We should not endure this silently.”
Still, the Sunday protests also fanned discontent from some residents unhappy with the disruption to their daily routine. “Why are there so many mainlanders shopping in Hong Kong? It’s because our products are good,” said Tom Lau, a 50-year-old local resident who works in a kitchen. He jeered at protesters. “Why oppose them (the shoppers)? They are just protesting for the sake of protesting. They are just stirring up trouble. They march with the colonial flag, but we are Chinese people.”
The police said in a statement that it would not hesitate to enforce order. "Police will take resolute enforcement actions to preserve public order and safeguard public safety," the statement said.