Flash Mob Rallies

May 12, 2020

On 10 May 2020, a series of “flash mob” rallies occurred in at least eight malls in Hong Kong. Police officers in riot gear deployed across the city and randomly stopped and searched bystanders, including journalists and first aid workers in an effort to identify protesters. At approximately 1620 local time (0825 UTC), several hundred pro-democracy demonstrators gathered at the MOKO shopping mall in Mong Kok. Police officers at the scene demanded that the crowd disperse, stating that they were in violation of social distancing rules. The crowd refused to comply, prompting police officers to deploy pepper balls to disperse the gathering. At least 18 individuals were seriously injured. Police officers detained approximately 230 individuals, including 131 in Mong Kok, as well as a pro-democracy lawmaker.

At approximately 1900 local time on 9 May several dozen demonstrators protested at Diamond Hill and Tai Po. Riot and plainclothes police officers began dispersing the crowd shortly after the protests began. However, there were no reports of violence during demonstrations on 9 May. Separately, at 1300 local time (0500 UTC) on 8 May protesters staged a demonstration at the International Financial Center mall in Central, where they chanted pro-democracy slogans. Approximately 15 minutes after the protest was scheduled to begin, police officers arrived to cordon off large areas of the mall, and attempted to disperse the demonstrators. Police officers briefly clashed with reporters covering the event and deployed pepper spray to disband the journalists. Police officers detained an unknown number of individuals, and fined at least three residents, including a pro-democracy legislator, for breaking social distancing rules.

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