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

A series of protests are expected to continue in Hong Kong over the weekend, as violent clashes break out with police at the border with mainland China.

The demonstration on Friday allegedly focused on the government's failure to address concerns about Chinese mainland traders buying wholesale goods in Hong Kong at duty-free prices before returning them to China for sale.

Police used pepper spray and batons to disperse the crowd as fleeing protesters scrambled over each other, with some falling to the ground.

Later in the day, Hong Kong police urged protesters to refrain from violence and leave the area.

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

They said they aren't against the travel and buying, but want it to be orderly and legal.

This is a provocative move by the Hong Kong protest movement that, among other things, aims to have Chinese tourists record the protests and disseminate the evidence inside China.

Policemen guard as protesters distribute umbrellas as they take part in a rally in the Sheung Shui district, in the New Territories in Hong Kong, China.

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Walking behind a banner that read "strictly enforce the law, stop cross-border traders", the protesters passed by pharmacies and cosmetic shops popular with Chinese tourists and traders who bring goods back to sell in the mainland.

"The government, Carrie Lam, some legislators in functional constituencies are not elected by the people, so there are many escalating actions in different districts to reflect different social issues", said Jimmy Sham of the Civil Human Rights Front, which organised protests against the extradition bill.

He went on to blast "some foreign forces" for interfering in Hong Kong's affairs and encouraged the whole society to "be on high alert and strongly oppose the extremely few people who become willing pawns of foreign forces in stirring up trouble.for their own interests". It has been a problem for years but never been solved.

The legislature in Hong Kong was also severely damaged by vandals when protesters stormed into the building after a full police retreat overnight.

Last week almost 2,000 people marched in the Tuen Mun residential district to protest against what they saw as the nuisance of brash singing and dancing to Mandarin pop songs by middle-aged mainland women.

Calling on the protesters to support another scheduled agitation in Sha Tin on Sunday, Leung hoped that the Hong Kong government and district council will agree to the six demands raised by the demonstrators, including the cancelling the policy of issuing monthly visas for Shenzhen residents to come to Hong Kong.

"They are the most important power left that can stand up to China", added the 30-year-old man, who gave his name only as David.

By Greg Torode and Vimvam Tong.

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