Protesters mob New Town Plaza counter

Top News | Cindy Wan 17 Jul 2019

Hundreds protested yesterday at New Town Plaza, demanding an explanation on why mall management allowed police inside on Sunday night - which they said sparked a bloody confrontation with demonstrators.

They surrounded the customer services counter at about 7pm, wanting an explanation for the mayhem caused by police and protesters.

In two statements on its Facebook page, the mall management said it did not call police for assistance or sent any employee to assist with police enforcement.

But the mall's developer, Sun Hung Kai Properties, was accused of lying, as its employees were captured bringing riot policemen into the mall.

The photos have been circulated online for the past three days, prompting yesterday's protest.

The mall turned off some of the lighting and the escalators toward the customer services' desk on the fourth floor. Shops were all closed before people gathered to surround the desk.

Democratic Party lawmaker Lam Cheuk-ting stood between the mall's employees and the crowd as he urged people to calm down and not to resort to violence.

A mall employee was taken to hospital by paramedics, claiming he was unwell.

Earlier in the afternoon, 15 Sha Tin district councillors of the pro-democracy camp held a press conference to slam Sun Hung Kai for neglecting the safety of the shoppers by letting police in.

They accused the developer of helping riot police outflank and trap the protesters inside.

District councillor Sunny Chiu Chu-pong condemned the violent clearance and urged police to reveal the commander who ordered the siege.

Yesterday was not the first time Sha Tin residents and shoppers confronted front-line customer services' officers, as some 50 people had attempted to speak to senior managers of property management firm, Kai Shing Management Services, on Monday night.

Lawmaker Lam rang up an officer for inquiries, but the call was cut off shortly after it was picked up by a man. The angry residents gave the management until 6pm yesterday to reply.

A woman said she tried to call the office to complain, but no one picked up her calls so she went to the mall to complain.

The crowd dispersed after a three-hour standoff with the customers' services center on Monday.

cindymt.wan@singtaonewscorp.com

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