Vandals break into Tiananmen Square museum ahead of reopening

Police arrive at the site of the June 4 Museum ahead of its opening after vandals broke in and poured salt water on the electrical sockets and damaged furniture. Screengrabs via Apple Daily video.

Police are investigating a weekend break-in at a museum in Mong Kok commemorating the Tiananmen Square Massacre, commonly referred to in Chinese as the “June 4 incident,” or simply “6/4.”

According to Apple Daily, the break-in was discovered on Sunday morning by an employee who went to the museum to work on setting it up ahead of its official re-opening later this month and found several items inside the unit had been damaged.

A lock on the door’s gate was missing, electrical wall sockets and switch boxes had been splashed with salt water, and holes had been punched through newly purchased office chairs. No exhibits from the museum were inside the space at the time.

The newspaper reports that the premises had not installed CCTV cameras yet, so they have been unable to see who or how many people were responsible for the damage.

Also present at the site yesterday was Albert Ho, a former lawmaker and the chairman of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, the group that runs the museum and organizes the annual June 4 candlelight vigil in Victoria Park.

Ho told reporters he was very angry about the break-in, and that the vandalism appeared to be politically motivated.

“The objective is clear, but it’s not enough to stop the opening of this museum to commemorate the 30th anniversary of June 4,” he said.

He added that there would 24-hour security on the premises starting on Sunday, that CCTV would be installed on Tuesday, and that he would not be intimidated.

Police confirmed over the weekend that they received a report just before 2pm on Sunday about the damage at the museum, and have classified the incident as a case of criminal damage. It’s currently being investigated by the Mong Kok police district investigation team, and no arrests have been made.

The museum has been without a permanent home since 2016, when it was forced out of a unit inside a commercial center in Tsim Sha Tsui because of lawsuits by the building’s owners over the use of the space. The Alliance maintained that the lawsuits were politically motivated, the South China Morning Post reported at the time.

Ming Pao reports that the museum’s new home, a 10th-floor unit in the the Ngai Wong Commercial Building on Mong Kok Road, was purchased by the Alliance at the end of last year. The museum was originally scheduled to re-open on Friday, April 26.

Since being forced to vacate the Tsim Sha Tsui unit, the Alliance has stored the exhibits from the museum at the Jockey Club Creative Arts Centre.

This weekend’s vandalism comes just months ahead of 30th anniversary of the bloody crackdown that saw the Chinese Communist Party send in troops to disperse pro-democracy student protesters who had occupied the famous square for several weeks.

The death toll for crackdown, which saw automatic rifles and tanks turned on unarmed demonstrators, has been reported as at least several hundred, and possibly more than 1,000.

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