NEWS: ‘Fake’ Pro-Gov Protesters Paid to Rally Against HK Democracy Movement 6

Thousands of protesters occupied Central in a rally against the pro-democracy Occupy Central movement yesterday. However, Now TV, Cable TV, TVBOriental Daily and the Economic Journal each discovered instances of demonstrators being paid up to HK$480 or offered freebies to attend.

Protester in Hong Kong

via Aaron Anfinson for Hong Wrong.

Many attendees had been mobilised by ethnic groups, leftist organisations, pro-government political parties and even businesses.

protesters being handed cash to attend the pro-government rally.

Oriental Daily uncover protesters being handed cash at the pro-government rally.

Police said that 110,600 attended – more than their estimate for the July 1st pro-democracy march, which they put at 98,600. HKUPOP estimated that 79,000-88,000 attended whilst organisers claimed 193,000 took part. A single SocREC reporter conducted a nonstop headcount, estimating a turnout of 41,250.

Turnout estimate anti-democracy march

A SocREC head count log alongside a photo of printed protest placards.

Unlike the the annual July 1st democracy rallies, most of yesterday’s attendees were elderly and many spoke Putonghua. Some journalists spotted South Asian participants and foreign domestic workers rallying against the Occupy Central pro-democracy ‘sit-in’.

During the march, minor scuffles broke out between protesters and and pro-democracy activists leading to four arrests. One protester reportedly threw a tray of 24 eggs at a People Power member.

Hong Kong anti-democracy rally

via InMedia

Politicians Regina Ip , Jeffrey Lam, Michael Tien, Elizabeth Quat, Cheung Chi-kong, and Cheng Yiu-tong all attended the rally, which was endorsed by Chief Executive CY Leung, and former Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa.

Elderly protesters at the pro-government rally

via NYT’s Mike Forsythe on Twitter.

It was organised by Robert Chow’s Alliance for Peace and Democracy. When questioned about his predictions of violence at the unconfirmed Occupy Central protest, Chow said, “You can say there’s no violence, no rape until rape happens. What about stalkers?… It’s the possibility!

Silent Majority for Hong Kong,

March organiser Robert Chow (right) with a member of the Silent Majority for Hong Kong.

Chow is also behind ‘Silent Majority’, another astro-turfing group known for their verbose condemnation of ‘violent’ Occupy Central and a viral video that predicted apocalyptic scenes should the sit-in go ahead.

anti-Occupy Central video

Scenes from the anti-Occupy Central video

In the video, the group warned that an occupation could prevent ambulances from responding to emergencies. Ironically, Sunday’s protest resulted in an ambulance being stuck in a traffic jam.

Ambulance hong kong

Via Richard Frost on Twitter


via Aaron Anfinson for Hong Wrong.

Reuters reported that a group of 150 people were mobilised by the Hong Kong Livestock Industry Association and given free transport. A Whatsapp message seen by the newswire showed that attendees were offered HK$350 to protest “for five hours“.

domestic workers at pro-China rally

Indonesian domestic workers don red shirts for the pro-Beijing rally, via NYT’s Mike Forsythe on Twitter.

Meanwhile, an undercover iCable reporter found that the pro-government, anti-Falun Gong group Hong Kong Youth Care Association was paying protesters HK$250 to attend and bussed them in from Yuen Long.

After registering online, the journalist was told to meet before 10:30am and was handed the sum en route to the march.

iCable report

An undercover iCable reporter captures protesters being paid to attend Sunday’s rally.

Other news sources reported sums of HK$200, HK$250, HK$300, HK$380 and HK$480 changing hands.

Pro-government protester

via Aaron Anfinson for Hong Wrong.

The South China Morning Post’s Jeffie Lam complained that many protesters were unwilling to talk as 30 employees from the Ying Wah Construction Group refused all questions from reporters. Others seemingly had no idea why they were there whilst one believed it to be shopping trip. Meanwhile, photojournalist Alex Hofford reported that some tried to prevent him taking photos.

anti-democracy march

South Asian minority groups join the rally wearing red t-shirts, via SCMP’s Steve Dunthorne on Twitter

The Wall Street Journal’s ‘China Real Time’ blog reported that “One marcher, whose shirt identified her as a member of the “Hong Kong Qingxi of Dongguan Association”, seemed bewildered by Hong Kong’s subway. “It’s so clean! And there are seats!” she said to a fellow marcher. When asked why she opposed Occupy Central, she said she was going for a walk.”

Proving that there is such thing as a free lunch, the Hong Kong Hakka Association reserved entire floors of the King’s Cuisine and Choi Fuk Royal Banquet restaurants for attendees. The Hong Kong Hubei Fraternity and the An Kwei Clan reserved 30 tables at Cheers.

Anti democracy rally

Protesters attend restaurants before the rally, via SCMP’s Jeffie Lam on Twitter.

Journalist Yuen Chan spotted how the pro-government newspaper Wen Wei Po doctored a picture of the July 1st pro-democracy march on their front cover under a headline about the pro-Beijing protest.

Meat face man

A doctored Wen Wei Po front cover and an image of a counter-protester with raw meet on his face did the rounds on social media yesterday.

Netizens also shared an image of a counter-protester’s performance art entitled ‘In the Face of Great Ignorance’.

Police estimated that 110,600 attended – more than their estimate for the July 1st pro-democracy march, via InMedia

The Occupy Central Twitter feed remained active during the rally, tweeting: “If the horrifying vision of HK manifested by anti-Occupy doesn’t make us fight harder for real democracy, something’s wrong with our side”.

Occupy Central

As the demonstration came to a close, Apple Daily and netizens lamented the rubbish and flags left behind in Victoria Park and along the protest route. The New York Times reports that, during pro-democracy rallies, participants usually clear up debris voluntarily afterwards.

Click for a summary of this year’s July 1st rally.

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6 thoughts on “NEWS: ‘Fake’ Pro-Gov Protesters Paid to Rally Against HK Democracy Movement

  • Stephen Kent

    I was actually wondering before the march whether the police would give an overestimate for the number of marchers. Although it appears fairly obvious from all the photographic evidence and reports from people on the scene that there weren’t as many people as on July 1st, the fact that the police seem to have deliberately overstated the number of marchers suggests that the force is becoming increasingly politicised.

    • ashleyhk

      My thought as well, and this is probably the worst result from the march. Manipulation, bussing in etc. are the norm but now the police have clearly taken sides it is a very worrying development. Police first, courts/judiciary next?
      I found myself in the middle of a few hundred people in Orange t-shirts who got off the MTR at Causeway Bay yesterday and not one spoke Cantonese. They were all speaking in Fujian dialect.

      • Stephen Kent

        It is a worrying development indeed. How can the police seriously claim that there were more people at the march yesterday than the July 1st one? The atmosphere of friendliness has gone from the pro-democracy march as well, no more smiles and bottles of water – they now seem to be more interested in making the progress of the marchers as slow and tiring as possible.

  • smog

    Clearly this was all a bit of a joke, but aren’t you on dodgy ground when making a big point about people of non-Chinese ethnicity taking part? I believe several gwailos take part in the pro-democracy marches for example. I cast my vote in the Popvote exercise because as a permanent resident I am a voter here, and surely if I have a vote then it is perfectly reasonable for me to take part in political activity?

    If the Indonesians were DHs then they don’t so they shouldn’t have been there obviously, but do you know that the South Asian guys aren’t PRs (or even Chinese citizens for that manner – there are hundreds of HK/Chinese citizens of South Asian descent here, and dozens, at least, of gwailos)?

    • Tom

      Yes, I agree about dodgy ground – it’s why I pointed out journalist’s observations but didn’t offer any conclusions.
      Also, as I’m still on break from HK, I had to throw this together remotely, so hadn’t a chance to see things for myself.