Festival Walk remains closed for third week as protest damage repaired
Festival Walk shopping mall in Hong Kong’s Kowloon Tong remains closed as repairs continue following serious vandalism by protestors earlier this month.
The reopening date has yet to be confirmed, but is likely to be sometime next month.
On November 10, Anti-ELab protestors gathered at various shopping malls in Hong Kong as part of an impromptu ‘Shop with You’ flash-mob event. The protest was prompted by outcry over the deaths of students linked with earlier protest events.
The mall was heavily vandalised, including its giant ‘Frozen’-themed Christmas tree set on fire.
What started out with slogan chanting and graffitiing of Maxim’s restaurants within the mall took a more severe turn after riot police stormed the vicinity. During the clash, protestors smashed glass balustrades around the floors. Images circulated on social media showed police hitting civilians and protestors with batons and of bloodied floors afterwards. Live-video feeds were shut down after police ejected the media from the mall and its lights were shut off.
Police are under scrutiny over the legality of entering the mall without a warrant: while open to the public, the mall is still private property.
However Festival Walk’s Singaporean parent Mapletree has taken an additional blow for its security procedures and for allowing riot police to make a forced entry into the mall.
Mapletree has since issued a statement denying it called police, however many locals voiced their anger on their social media page calling for a boycott, claiming mall management lacked concern for customer safety. The mall has not released CCTV footage of what happened within.
With repairs already into their third week, Festival Walk and its tenants, which include an Apple store, look set to lose a month’s trading revenue in the leadup to Christmas, traditionally one of the busiest shopping seasons of the year.