Hong Kong protesters take aim at Chinese traders

The People's Liberation Army soldiers take part in a performance during an open day of Stonecutters Island naval base in Hong Kong

Hong Kong government says controversial extradition bill is 'dead'

A protester hangs from a bridge as police officers try to pull him up after a scuffle with police pushing back protesters, in Hong Kong, Saturday, July 13, 2019.

Tens of thousands of protesters staged an anti-extradition march the next day through one of the most popular tourist shopping areas in Kowloon, where they tried to win support from mainland Chinese tourists.

Demonstrators threw hardhats and umbrellas - a symbol of protest in Hong Kong - at cops, who responded by swinging batons and firing pepper spray.

The small-time mainland traders have always been a source of anger among some in Hong Kong who argue that they have fuelled inflation, dodged taxes, diluted the town's identity and caused a spike in property prices.

Sheung Shui resident Ryan Lai, 50, said: 'Our lovely town has become chaos.

The protest started as a peaceful march against traders from mainland China, the latest in what is fast becoming a summer of unrest in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory. We don't want to stop travel and buying, but please, just make it orderly and legal.

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"The anti-extradition protests have heightened our awareness over community issues, instead of waiting for the government to do something, we may as well take it in our own hands", said Vincent Yeung, a man in his 20s.

Yesterday, the police said the Sheung Shui march ended at around 5pm, but clashes broke out when some protesters argued with other people at the scene and attempted to charge at officers when they intervened.

It is another example of what Hong Kong citizens see as bowing to Beijing, saw a backlash in the form of violent street protests.

Major demonstrations in the past month against a proposal to change extradition laws have reawakened other movements in Hong Kong.

Most protests have centred on the central business district, but demonstrators have recently begun to look elsewhere to widen support by taking up narrower, more domestic issues. Numerous stores were shuttered because of the protest.

When Britain returned Hong Kong to China in 1997, Chinese Communist leaders promised the city a high degree of autonomy for 50 years.

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The bill was suspended on June 18 but not formally withdrawn, while Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said it was "dead" and there was "no such plan" to reanimate it.

A week ago, some 2,000 people took to the streets in Tuen Mun, also in the New Territories, to protest against the noise and environmental nuisance created by mainland Chinese women singing and dancing in a district park.

He praised Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, Hong Kong's chief executive, for her efforts, saying she and her team were persevering in "governance in accordance with the law" and that they were "not avoiding hard tasks".

But many say China has progressively tightened its grip, putting Hong Kong's freedoms under threat through a range of measures such as the extradition bill.

"If political problems are not solved, social well-being issues will continue to emerge endlessly".

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