Some Singaporeans anxious about events

Protesters in the streets of Hong Kong, on July 1, 2019. PHOTO: NY TIMES

As he watched protesters break into Hong Kong's Legislative Council building on Monday night, Singaporean Greg Ng, 46, felt a sense of disquiet.

"I am trying to understand why they did what they did, and am also saddened by the split in society," said the co-founder of an aviation company who has lived in Hong Kong for more than a decade and considers the city his second home.

Singaporeans who, like Mr Ng, live in Hong Kong or have close ties to the city have been watching the ongoing protests over a controversial extradition Bill with concern.

Tensions came to a head on Monday night - the 22nd anniversary of Hong Kong's 1997 return to China - when protesters stormed the Legislative Council building.

Social entrepreneur Koh Seng Choon, who hopes to start a business there, said: "The protesters have a point and a right to civil liberty and freedom, but they have overstepped the law and I do not condone violence."

"It was disturbing to see so many people dressed in black and wearing face masks,"added the 59-year-old, who visited Hong Kong last week.

But Mr Neoh Yi Hui, who owns a wellness studio there, said he sympathised with the protesters' frustrations.

Many of the young people he works with told him that they have no idea what to do after they complete their studies. "I feel extremely sorry for them," he added.

"They feel that they have no stability in life and that their future is bleak. It is not just about the extradition Bill."

Mr Ng said: "I just hope the fighting would stop and all sides start to listen more."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 03, 2019, with the headline Some Singaporeans anxious about events. Subscribe