Dozens of police officers raided a newly-opened children’s apparel store in Hong Kong on Thursday, whose owner is known to be a supporter of democracy.
According to images that have circulated online, as many as 50 officers cordoned off the storefront of a Chickeeduck branch in the residential district of Tsuen Wan. Officers from the police’s national security department were reportedly among them.
It was reported that officers demanded shoppers to leave the store, stopped and searched customers and checked their identity.
The purpose of the police operation remains unclear. Chickeeduck owner Herbert Chow told Apple Daily that the police media liaison team said they were conducting an evidence search in the store after securing a search warrant.
“At first I had thought it was a lockdown [due to COVID-19], but then I realized they were targeting my shop,” said Chow. “Is it how the rule of law works in Hong Kong, that [police] can come in and scare my customers to their liking?”
“I won’t be intimidated by the white terror,” he said, referring to attempts by city authorities to silence dissenting voices through political oppression.
The police warned him that should there be any products deemed to breach the national security law, they would reserve the right to pursue legal action, he added.
The Tsuen Wan store became a scene for the city’s democracy supporters when it opened on Tuesday, because of the artwork display related to the 2019 anti-government demonstrations, including a six-foot-tall (1.8 meters) sculpture of the Hong Kong Goddess of Democracy and Freedom — a symbol of the 2019 movement — erected at the front entrance.
Many of Chow’s Chickeeduck branches have closed after proprietors had terminated their leases. It was believed to be in response to his open support of the 2019 movement, where he would showcase artworks and items in support of pro-democracy activists and protesters.
Pro-Beijing media outlets have accused the brand of promoting Hong Kong’s independence, inciting violence and violating the national security law.
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