Hong Kong weary, protective, opposed to protesters

October 4, 2014

HONG KONG (AP) — Some of Hong Kong’s 7 million residents are protective of the mostly young pro-democracy protesters. Others support the demands for wider political reforms, but have grown weary of the hassles of blocked streets and closed schools. And there are some who opposed the mass display of public dissent from the start. People spoke on Saturday about joining or watching the downtown occupation that some have dubbed the “Umbrella Revolution.”

— Walter Lee, 49, computer engineer:

“I came down today because I saw the students getting beat up by gang thugs yesterday. It is the same reason why I stood in front of police on Sunday (Sept. 28) after police started throwing tear gas at the students. They are kids and we need to come out to protect them. I am also here because of my own kids, because I don’t want to live in a city where it is not possible to have peaceful protests, where you have to be afraid ... every time you go out to call for democracy.”

— Kong Su-lin, 75, retiree:

“I was out last night even though my grandchildren tried to stop me. I am old so the gangs don’t dare touch me. I stood between them and crossed my arms telling them not to hurt the students. I am afraid that I could’ve gotten pushed because I broke my back last year. But I hate the Communist Party, they have to be opposed. I am from Hangzhou and moved to Hong Kong with my family in 1984. My dad died in a Chinese prison. He was a talented artist and the government labelled him as a rightist and put him in jail. That’s why even though I’m old I have to come onto the streets to defend Hong Kong. If it becomes just like China, any of us can be thrown in jail and suffer for no reason at all.”

— Harry Hon, 57, computer engineer manager:

“I actually started off supporting the protesters. If they clog streets for one or two days, that’s fine, we would tolerate it but now it’s like they want to occupy indefinitely. This I find extremely selfish. They are mostly university students, they’ve done most of their schooling, but they are harming the primary school kids whose schools are shut down in some areas. And low-income workers have to wake up even earlier to travel to work with bus lines and roads closed. I couldn’t take it anymore so came down to try to teach them a lesson.”

— Martin Wen, 54, driver:

“I am a Hong Konger. I live in Mong Kok, and every day I need to go around the city for my work and the protests have ruined my life and income. They are spoiled brats brainwashed by Benny Tai. The roads are public and belong to 7 million of Hong Kong people, not to them. They are asking to be beaten by angry residents. I don’t have sympathy for them.”

— Arnold Lin, 42, a salesman:

“The students are not accepting the reality. Hong Kong is a part of China and has to follow Chinese laws. If they don’t like it they can stop being Hong Kongers and go to Canada, or to the U.S. or Britain. It would be good riddance because these brats could do nothing to help Hong Kong.”

— Alex Chow, 24, secretary general of the Hong Kong Federation of Students, one of the groups leading the protest:

“This movement is thanks to all the Hong Kong people who took the initiative, so we could persist to the end and get to this point. We know this battle is not over, so we have to continue putting pressure on the government.”


Associated Press writers Elaine Kurtenbach and Kelvin M. Chan contributed.