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Saturday, Nov 28, 2020

Man charged with criminal damage of Starbucks outlet during Hong Kong protest banned from all shopping centres except one near home

Wong Cheuk-yin, 20, granted cash bail of HK$5,000 with a list of conditions as case adjourned to January 24. Mugs and a display shelf were damaged in Starbucks cafe in Langham Place mall during Boxing Day protest
A 20-year-old trainee fitness instructor who allegedly kicked over a coffee shop display during a Boxing Day protest in a mall has been banned from entering all shopping centres in Hong Kong apart from one near his home.

West Kowloon Magistracy imposed the bail condition on Saturday on Wong Cheuk-yin, who was charged with one count of criminal damage over the incident at a Starbucks coffee shop in the Langham Place shopping centre in Mong Kok. Mugs and a display shelf were damaged.

Anti-government protesters had marched through the mall, heckling diners at certain restaurants. In Hong Kong, Starbucks is operated by catering firm Maxim’s Group, a frequent target after its founder’s daughter Annie Wu Suk-ching criticised protesters.

The court adjourned Wong’s case to January 24 and granted him cash bail of HK$5,000 (US$641) with a list of conditions, including a ban on entering any mall in the city other than the one in Lohas Park, where he lives.

Wong was also banned from going to Sai Yee Street, Soy Street, Bute Street and Shanghai Street in Mong Kok.

He was also placed under a curfew from midnight to 6am every day, barred from leaving Hong Kong, and must check in at Mong Kok Police Station every Monday between 8pm and 11pm.

Prosecutors said police still had to take statements from Starbucks employees and other witnesses, as well as obtain CCTV footage from each floor of Langham Place.

Although the defendant reported his occupation as a sales clerk, his lawyer told the court Wong was one month away from receiving his fitness instructor licence and was selling products at a gym. Wong had also held other odd jobs including as a plumber, construction worker and installing outdoor advertisements.

Police arrested 336 people from Monday to Friday morning, 165 of them on Christmas Eve, including 105 near the force’s headquarters in Wan Chai, on suspicion of taking part in an illegal assembly.

Hong Kong has been gripped by protests since June, originally triggered by a now-withdrawn extradition bill, later spiralling into a larger anti-government movement. Protesters have since boycotted and trashed various shops owned by either pro-establishment or mainland China-linked businesses.

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