A restaurant in Kowloon known for its open support of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protesters was vandalized by four unknown men in the early hours of this morning.
The Lung Mun Cafe in Hung Hom made a name for itself as a “yellow business” — as opposed to a pro-China “blue business” — for sticking pro-democracy posters onto its windows and offering free meals to student protesters with its aptly-named “Add Oil Hongkongers Set Meal.”
According to Ming Pao, the vandalism took place at about 5am this morning while about five staff members were getting food ready ahead of the breakfast rush. Shortly after they arrived, four men broke into the restaurant and began overturning tables, breaking crockery, and using metal bars to smash the restaurant’s cash register and windows before fleeing the scene.
Video posted online shows restaurant staff cleaning up the mess shortly after the vandalism occurred.
The staff called the restaurant’s boss, surnamed Cheung, and a notice was put up on the restaurant’s Facebook page announcing that the restaurant would be open for business as usual, but service may be a bit slower, and the air conditioning won’t be switched on.
The restaurant also posted a photo of the shop’s busted facade and some damaged computers.
Local outlets reported that as of this morning, dozens of people were lined up outside the restaurant to eat there after hearing about the vandalism
One person standing in line for a meal, surnamed Wan, told Apple Daily: “Lots of people keep complaining that protesters are vandalizing certain business, yet some people have just gone on to do exactly that.”
Another person surnamed Leung told the newspaper that he came all the way from Kwun Tong just to eat at Lung Mun this morning.
“Such a kind and compassionate restaurant needs our support and money,” he said.
Lung Mun is a cha chaan teng-style restaurant with outlets in Tsim Sha Tsui, Causeway Bay, Tuen Mun, and Fortress Hill. Its Hung Hom location has long been a popular spot among students at nearby Polytechnic University thanks to its 10 percent student discount.
More recently, the restaurant found itself in the spotlight after the Hung Hom branch’s boss was featured in a viral video telling a woman to leave the restaurant because she got into an argument with some pro-democracy supporters.
In the video, Cheung can be seen repeatedly telling a woman sitting in one of the booths to leave. He also holds out a plastic bag with the woman’s meal, saying he would give it to her free of charge if she left the restaurant.
“I’m the boss of this restaurant and I’m begging you; I don’t want your business, please leave,” he says.
“If you don’t leave now, I’ll let everyone in this restaurant eat for free,” he adds. “I don’t want your business, I don’t want to take your money, it’s that simple.”
In a subsequent interview with Apple Daily, published last week, Cheung said that the woman in question had brought her daughter to the restaurant for dinner and got into a argument with another diner, and at one point she said “This restaurant is offering meals at special price to benefit young people, not to support you all to go out to protest and vandalize!”
Cheung intervened, explaining to the woman why his restaurant was pro-democracy and told her to leave.
He also explained to the newspaper why he was offering a special set meal for student protesters (which, for those of you wondering, is a bowl of soup noodles with a choice of chicken wings, pork chop, or spam and egg.)
“I saw that a lot of young people and their parents would have arguments over political differences, and this has resulted in some of them being financially cut off by their families, not having enough money to eat out, and some aren’t allowed to return home,” he said.
“So I set up this kind of meal because I want to help the students,” adding that the woman’s remarks were affecting other diners, who were mostly students.
Read more about Hong Kong’s long-running protests at Coconuts HK.