A group of Hong Kong protesters were caught on camera trashing a convenience store on Tuesday, Oct. 1, which was China's National Day.
Stand News, DW News and South China Morning Post reported that the vandalised facilities at the western New Territories district of Tsuen Wan included a Best Mart 360, Miniso, China Mobile, Bank of China ATMs, as well as Maxim's Caterers stores.
Here's a clip of the vandalism in process:
Here's another clip of the destruction that took place on Sunday, Sep. 29:
A protester uses a shovel to try to force open the shutters of a Best Mart 360 store in Causeway Bay— SCMP Hong Kong (@SCMPHongKong) September 29, 2019
Video: SCMP/Yujing Liu pic.twitter.com/UYu4VhaldN
No large-scale looting was carried out -- protesters reminded others not to loot anything from the stores -- but the shops suffered serious damages, with shattered glass windows and smashed interiors.
Angry rampage after protester got shot
Protesters went on a rampage after an 18-year-old student was shot in the chest by a live round on Tuesday, Oct. 1.
The incident marked the first time in 17 weeks a protester was shot by a real bullet since protests broke out in June.
Previously, Starbucks was also targeted after the daughter of the founder of Maxim's Caterers, which owns the coffee chain franchise, condemned the protesters and supported Beijing's hardline stance against them, Hong Kong Free Press reported.
Alleged close triad links
Protesters had targeted the Best Mart 360 as it was part of a chain owned by a person said to have deep links to the southeastern Chinese province of Fujian, Washington Post reported.
Rumours circulating online claimed the convenience chain had ties to the alleged Fujianese gangsters accused of attacking protesters with sticks in North Point, the northeastern part of Hong Kong Island, on Aug. 5.
After the rampage, the shop was forced to shut down, and protesters moved along, cheering victoriously.
The stores that were targeted were also said to be have pro-Beijing ties.
The reasons of boycotting Maxims, Yoshinoya, BestMart360 & MTR Corporation.#831YuenLongTerroristAttack #antiELABhk #antichinazi #MTR #Yoshinoya #BestMart360 #maxims #美心 #吉野家 #優品360 pic.twitter.com/2TZNZV4A52— Whitebird99_R (天上無能佛用，地獄有量妖瑪 ) (@leewaigor) October 3, 2019
Protesters cheer them on
Comments on the incident were generally supportive of the vandalism.
The most upvoted comment was written by an Instagram user with the handle "Uncle Xi Jinping".
It reads: "Carrie Lam and I (referring to Xi) will express grievance towards the glass."
The comment plays on the response that Hong Kong's Chief Executive Carrie Lam typically gives each time an MTR station is trashed.
Many defended their actions as well, saying they "did nothing wrong".
However, there were some who said, "(Are these guys) mental?"
Best Mart 360 responds
Best Mart 360 has since responded to the incident, saying several of its branches have been destroyed by protesters.
It said: "The chairman of the company and the rest of the management team are just ordinary businesspeople, and we hope citizens can express their demands rationally."
Most protesters generally support hardline means of protest
While frontline protesters are sometimes differentiated from the rest who simply take part in peaceful marches and leave before clashing with riot police, the majority of protesters are said to support the more hardline approach of the former for various reasons.
The reasons they give to justify the violence are as follows:
1. MTR stations are targeted due to their perceived close relationship with the police
- For instance, police were able to view surveillance footage at MTR stations, while MTR only released selected screenshots of the footage to members of the public, despite them asking for evidence to prove nothing bad happened at Prince Edward station
2. The previous 2014 movement was largely peaceful, which was why it failed to force the government to give in to their demands
3. Many of them think this is the last chance they can voice their dissent against the Hong Kong government, especially with the window they have before the 2047 deadline narrowing
Perhaps protesters were also venting their frustrations with the Hong Kong government for refusing to listen to their complaints, such as the ones on alleged police brutality.
Some protesters also say the frontliners were buying them time so the rest could escape.
However, there are still many who disagree with the radical methods of vandalism targeting MTR stations and businesses, saying such methods have wrought limited results so far, and are, in fact, destroying the movement as it negatively affects the public's perception of the protesters.
Even so, an important theme of the leaderless protests this time round, as opposed to the Occupy Central movement in 2014, is not to point fingers at one another.
Protesters, even the "milder" ones, can be said to be generally in agreement with the more "radical" ones when it comes to the vandalism of public and private property.
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