Protesters Return in Peaceful Post-Poll Rally: Hong Kong Update

November 30, 2019 0 By NIKESHOE

(Bloomberg) — Hong Kong protesters returned to the city center in a peaceful rally after the city’s pro-democracy forces won by a landslide in local district council elections in a rebuke of the government and its backers in Beijing.

President Donald Trump signed legislation this week expressing U.S. support for Hong Kong protesters, prompting China to threaten retaliation as the two sides get close to signing a phase one trade deal. Police on Friday said a nearly two-week siege of Hong Kong Polytechnic University, a violent standoff between activists and officers that transfixed the city, had come to an end.

While last week’s vote unfolded peacefully, there are concerns in the financial hub that leader Carrie Lam’s failure to make any concessions to demonstrators in its wake could fuel more anger. After a Thanksgiving rally in the city center on Thursday, weekend rallies include one on Sunday to show gratitude to the U.S. for introducing the Hong Kong legislation.

Here’s the latest (all times local):

Protesters return (Saturday 2 pm.)

Hundreds of secondary-school students and elderly people rallied in a park in the city center in support of Hong Kong’s ongoing protests and against police use of tear gas. A number of people addressed the crowd before a band played on a makeshift stage in front of background poster that said: The elderly and the young hold hands and we walk together with you.

No police were evident in or around the gathering in Chater Garden, Central, which was scheduled to end at 5 p.m.

1,377 arrested in relation to PolyU (4:54 p.m.)

Hong Kong police have arrested 1,377 people who left the then-besieged PolyU campus or were in the vicinity, the force’s Chief Superintendent Kwok Ka-chuen said at a daily briefing. More than 300 people under age 18 had their information taken down when they left the campus, he said, adding that he was “pleased” the episode at the school was coming to an end and that he hoped it could be a “turning point” for the city’s unrest, as it was resolved peacefully

Police have now made 5,890 protest-related arrests since rallies began on June 9, he said.

Hong Kong insurance sales to China slip (3:32 p.m.)

Insurance sales in the financial hub to mainland customers declined in the third quarter as the protests halted visits to the city. Their purchases of insurance and related investment policies declined 18% to HK$9.7 billion ($1.2 billion) from a year earlier, according to figures from Hong Kong’s Insurance Authority. That year-on-year drop was the biggest since the start of last year, weighing on insurance giants such as Prudential Plc and AIA Group Ltd.

Hong Kong is a hot market to buy insurance for mainland customers since it offers a wider array of investment products and access to foreign currencies. Since rules stipulate that customers need to finalize contracts in person, sales have been pummeled as many prospective Chinese customers have avoided the former British colony.

PolyU siege ends (Friday 12:51 p.m.)

Police said they lifted their blockade on PolyU after officers cleared the campus. Chow Yat-ming, the city’s assistant police commissioner, said he believed PolyU could be handed back to university management after dangerous items that remained on campus were removed.

Firemen and a police safety team did a final sweep of the campus in the morning after searching every level of each building to handle hazardous items and collect evidence the day before. The police said they seized items including 3,989 petrol bombs, 1,339 explosive items and 601 bottles of corrosive liquids.

–With assistance from Zheping Huang.

To contact the reporters on this story: Karen Leigh in Hong Kong at kleigh4@bloomberg.net;Natalie Lung in Hong Kong at flung6@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Daniel Ten Kate at dtenkate@bloomberg.net, Stanley James

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