Fervor flags after theft and vandalism of national and SAR emblems
All national and SAR flags outside a building in Ping Shek Estate have been removed after some flags were stolen or defiled over the weekend.
Residents said volunteers took away the flags adorning Lam Shek and Kam Shek houses in Ping Shek Estate for the 25th handover anniversary on Sunday night after police complaints were filed that two national flags were stolen and 12 others defiled.
It was understood that Lam Shek House's mutual aid committee oversaw the removal over fears of more such incidents.
A resident, Ng, lamented the loss of such a "beautiful" backdrop and the waste of volunteers' efforts in putting up the flags.
The flags were provided by the Kowloon East Chaoren Association, a pro-Beijing clan organization of chiuchow residents in the area.
The association has been displaying the flags at amenable locations in east Kowloon every July 1 and National Day since 2019.
It had planned to display some 11,500 flags in 23 public housing estates this year.
Kowloon City councillor Cho Wui-hung's office, whose constituency is Oi Man Estate where the flags were damaged in the weekend, said the estate has no plan to take away other flags.
It also said residents would be asked to closely monitor the condition of the flags.
Legislative Council president Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen said the theft of the flags was childish.
He said everyone should respect their own country, slammed those who stole or defiled the national flag as unwise and called for quick arrests.
Legco member Dominic Lee Tsz-king of the New People's Party said more flags should be put up instead.
"Some people defiled or damaged the flags just to prevent them from being displayed," he said.
"Now that we have put the flags away, they would feel encouraged by their actions. That is why I think more flags should be displayed despite the damage."
The removal came as the Government Flying Services announced that four aircraft would fly the national and SAR flags across Victoria Harbour during the flag-raising ceremony on July 1 as well as at noon.