Just taking pictures is asking for trouble

Central Station | Nury Vittachi 15 Nov 2019

A gang of black shirts blocked roads in Central yesterday.

As usual, this journalist took a variety of pictures. Also as usual, the black shirts rushed up to me and shouted: "Stop taking pictures."

But this time I did an experiment. I said "No" and carried on.

The black shirts were quite young and didn't know what to do.

Older, larger supporters approached and shouted at me.

But some in the quiet crowd defended me.

Best comment came from an old Hongkonger, who was sad at the needless vandalism: "To anyone who believes in the rule of law, photographing lawbreakers is not a crime; it's a public service."

* * *

Why no pictures? There seems to be a widely held conspiracy theory that Beijing can remotely access the iPhones of tourists and passers-by and grab the pictures to send to the Hong Kong police to add to the 118 victims on their Secret Murdering List.

But it's all ridiculous.

Even the FBI struggles to get into the iPhones right there on their desks.

And the Hong Kong police force doesn't have a Secret Murdering List anyway.

* * *

Reader Jennifer Lo said that believing the things that are printed in the more extreme sources is idiotic. "You're better off believing in Santa," she said. "At least he is all about spreading love."

* * *

Hong Kong residents are increasingly going to protest sites and dismantling the blockages that prevent cars and buses moving.

Nick Wong of the Brick Removal Movement said: "Yesterday when I started clearing there were only two or three people, then 10. Today there were 40 to 50."

Inspired, this reporter started clearing bricks from the roadblock in Central. But my timing was bad - several protesters saw me and pointed at me: I probably only narrowly escaped unharmed.

Elsewhere it was worse. Hong Kong residents clearing roads near Polytechnic University yesterday had bricks and other hard objects flung at them.

Be careful, everyone.

* * *

Reader Mark Leung said he had dropped his opposition to the demand to retract the classification of rioters as rioters. "Let's retract the term 'rioters'," he said. "And instead use 'terrorists'."

* * *

Separately, a reader named Simon noticed that in one of the new slogans being spray-painted on various walls, black-shirts describe their own activities as "rioting."

He showed me photos of the slogan, which says: "Rioting is the language of the unheard."

Maybe the thing to do is to catch the black-shirt graffiti guy in the act of painting the slogan and then point out to his black-shirt comrades what he is doing.

"Hey. This guy is writing on the wall that you're rioters!"

Then stand well back.

* * *

Shock news. The sewage celebration has been canceled. The Drainage Services Department had planned to ferry the public to Stonecutters Island's sewage treatment works tomorrow to mark the department's 30th anniversary.

But the party's off, since black shirts have a puzzling and irrational hatred for taxpayer-owned infrastructure.

Hong Kong people lose the chance to hear talks about 30 years of sewage handling. Tragic!

* * *

In Kowloon, black shirt gangs mixed cement to maximize the damage they were causing to the Polytechnic University infrastructure yesterday. Oh well, that university is known for teaching courses on building and construction, so I guess it could count as a "practical" lesson.

Stay safe.

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