More than 60 Hong Kong buses have returned to normal service due to police efforts to remove protest barriers in Hong Kong, but more action (and perhaps political reform) will be needed before life (as we used to know it) goes back to normal too.
In a press conference earlier today, Albert Su, Hong Kong’s assistant commissioner for transport, said that while trams are now running again in Kennedy Town and Happy Valley, and that the substitute 40M bus from Central to Pokfield Road is no longer needed, 11 routes that usually go through Admiralty are still suspended and 216 buses are still making detours.
In addition, 23 minibus routes are still affected, and Su advised Hong Kong commuters not to get their hopes up too much, as he expects all the rich people to get back in their private cars to clog up the roads and scupper any progress they’ve made at the first opportunity. Okay, he didn’t put it quite like that…
Meanwhile, Hui Chun-tak, Hong Kong’s chief superintendent of police public relations, described yesterday and today’s operations to remove protest barriers in Causeway Bay and Admiralty as having gone “smoothly”, and warned that the Mong Kok protest site is next. DUN, DUN, DUN!
“If anyone tries to replace or reinforce the obstacles again, police will not tolerate and will take decisive enforcement action to stop such illegal acts. Police will deploy additional officers to patrol the area,” Hui told a press conference.
Hui insisted that the police are not (at this time) attempting to remove protestors from the site, although he did rather unambiguously state that: “When Police remove the obstacles, we may need to take the protestors to another location so as to re-open the roads.” Let’s just hope that other location isn’t jail.
Touching on the incident yesterday whereby anti-Occupy protesters clashed with the pro-democracy demonstrators at Queensway at around 1:30pm, Hui seemed to pick his side quite clearly by repeatedly referring to Occupy protestors as acting “illegally” and stating: “Police understand their [anti-Occupy protestors’] aspiration [we’re pretty sure he means exacerbation?] because of the extended road occupation.”
He confirmed that 23 men between the ages of 16 and 54 were arrested after the scuffles for: disorder, possession of offensive weapons, assault, obstructing police officers and theft. Quite the rap sheet.
Hui called for calm on all sides, including the media (because we do tend to get terribly over excited!!!), and finally appealed for protestors to allow the Legislative Council safe passage to their meeting tomorrow.
Photo: Laurel Chor, Coconuts Media