HONG KONG: Radical protesters went on a violent rampage again during a march on the Hong Kong Island.
HSBC became the target of rioters during the afternoon’s protest.
The glass wall of an HSBC branch on Hennessy Road was smashed by rioters at around 3.50pm.
Rioters also poured red paint over a lion sculpture outside the HSBC headquarters building in the Central district on Wednesday.
Later in the evening, HSBC condemned acts of vandalism against its property by rioters.
“We strongly condemn the acts of vandalism and damage directed at our premises repeatedly in the past few days, ” a spokesman said in a statement, adding that some of its ATMs and banking facilities were suspended.
“We believe the rule of law is essential to Hong Kong’s status as an international financial centre and we look forward to the speedy resolution of the issues.”
Some spray-painted the protective white planks at the entrance of an HSBC branch in the vicinity of the Victoria Park.
It was not the first time that Hong Kong’s largest bank was targeted by rioters.
An HSBC branch in Mong Kok was trashed on Christmas Eve.
Some other businesses also fell victim to the violence on New Year’s Day.
The glass door of the building of China Life Insurance was smashed by rioters during the demonstration.
The glass windows of a Starbucks cafe in Tin Hau was also smashed, and an outlet of Hui’s Brothers Currency Exchange was painted with graffiti.
At around 5pm, rioters threw trash and petrol bombs at Luard Road and Hennessey Road, posing a grave threat to public safety, according to the police.
Around an hour later, rioters damaged the traffic lights in the vicinity of Des Voeux Road Central and Pedder Street in the Central district.
They also set up road barricades with miscellaneous objects. Police have warned the protesters to stop the illegal acts.
As the night fell, masked rioters vandalised public facilities in Causeway Bay, Wan Chai and Central areas.
They dug up bricks from pavements, some even set fire to banks and ATM machines.
Police have deployed minimum force including the use of tear gas to disperse protesters.
Five people have been arrested on suspicion of criminal damage, according to a press release issued by the Hong Kong Special Administration Region’s government.
The government called on residents to leave as soon as possible after arriving at the finishing point of the march and not to participate in illegal and violent activities, and stressed the police will carry out strict law enforcement. — China Daily/ANN
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