Hong Kong protestors find new retail target: I.T Group

Hong Kong’s Causeway Bay was yesterday the centre of the largest and most disruptive protest activity since the outbreak of Covid-19, forcing stores to close and shoppers seeking shelter from tear gas. 

And they revealed a new target: Hong Kong-listed apparel retailer I.T Group and its founder Sham Kar Wai. 

Angered by moves in Beijing to impose new national security laws on the territory, thousands of protesters took to the streets yesterday, ignoring social-distancing practices and unconcerned that the gathering had not been authorised by police.

About 180 people were arrested after police fired tear gas and pepper spray and used one of its water cannons to shower groups gathered on Hennessy Road and surrounding streets. 

I.T Group’s A Bathing Ape store on Lee Garden Road had all of its feature windows smashed, with piles of glass fragments covering the footpath. 

Glass litters the pavement at the Bathing Ape store. Image: Screengrab Apple Daily.

Around the corner, its Commes de Garcons store received similar treatment. As during last year’s protests when retailers perceived to be pro-Beijing had stores targeted, nothing was stolen.  

The Comme Des Garcons store in Causeway Bay yesterday. Image: Twitter/@wanderingwalk3r

Images of the damaged I.T stores were circulated on Twitter along with explanations why the company is now a target. Sham Kar Wai has been identified by the protest movement as “pro-Blue” after photographs were circulated allegedly showing him attending a police social event. 

“…This has absolutely NOTHING to do w/Comme des Garcon [sic]. If anything, I admire Rei Kawakubo A LOT!,” a person identifying themselves as Chloe tweeted, referring to the damaged store. “Her inspiration is often driven from freedom and rebellion. On that note I hope Dover St Market and CDG would stop their partnership with Sham Kar Wai’s I.T.”

In a long stream, the person also shared internal memos instructing I.T staff to urgently remove stock from shelves from the US brand Awake NY after it posted messages last year supporting protests via tweets on its own channel:

Meanwhile, across town, live television broadcasts showed several people in restraints being escorted from the Harbour City shopping centre in Kowloon, some by plain clothes police.  

  • Featured image credit: Twitter/@hheolnygtksoan1

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