Hong Kong Court Bans Occupations as Police Warn of Riot

Hong Kong’s High Court issued an interim injunction banning protesters from occupying a road in Mong Kok district as the police said assembly at the site may veer into “a riot.”

After a weekend of clashes in the densely populated district, the court yesterday issued a summons against anyone occupying or blocking Argyle Street, one of the roads occupied by protesters. Closely-held Chiu Luen Public Light Bus Company Ltd. was the plaintiff.

“Mong Kok remains a high-risk area,” said Hui Chun-tak, chief superintendent of the Police Public Relations Branch at a briefing yesterday. “The illegal assembly is on the verge of turning into a riot.”

Mong Kok has been the scene of some of the worst violence since demonstrations began. Police used batons, shields and pepper spray on Oct. 17 and Oct. 18 after crowds estimated at around 9,000 poured into the streets to take back areas that had been cleared. On Oct. 3, at least 37 people were injured after hundreds of men attacked demonstrators in the area.

The pro-democracy demonstrations that began across the city on Sept. 26 have created mounting headaches for Hong Kong’s transportation sector. Blockaded roads at the three protest sites have disrupted 40 percent of bus routes, and revenue for members of the Hong Kong Taxi Owners’ Association dropped 30 percent since the beginning of the protests.

The High Court also granted an interim injunction yesterday barring protesters from occupying from the section between Tim Mei Avenue and Lung Wui Road in the Admiralty district, China’s Xinhua News Agency reported. The owners of the area’s Citic Tower were the plaintiffs, it said.

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