HK Happenings #3: Eric the Artist Arrested Again
HK Happenings, a column featuring snippets of Umbrella Movement news and quirky developments in Hong Kong.
Eric the Artist was arrested by Hong Kong police in the Mong Kok commercial district for the second time on Saturday.
At about 11:00 p.m. local time (10:00 a.m. Eastern Standard time), police approached Eric Pan, who had set up shop in a pedestrian area on Sai Yeung Choi South Street, and debated with him, according to Hong Kong online news site SocREC.
— Dick Ho (@DickHoPhoto) January 3, 2015
A while later, police officers arrested Eric, confiscated his wares, and whisked him away in a police car.
SocREC says unlicensed street vendors frequent Sai Yeung Choi South Street on Saturdays and holidays to sell their goods because the area sees a high volume of pedestrian traffic. The local district council has always brought up the street vendor issue to the Hong Kong government, but they never did anything about it.
It is unclear if Eric was arrested for being an illegal street vendor or because he said something inappropriate to the police.
Eric has been a street artist for more than eight years, and is one of the more colorful characters in the Umbrella Movement.
During the street occupations, the 28-year-old Mong Kok regular was almost always seen shirtless and wearing a pair of orange goggles. Eric would also use a mini-megaphone to shout pro-democracy messages as well as hurl abuses at the police and the Hong Kong government.
Eric escaped arrest multiple times, but was finally surrounded by police and nabbed for refusing to produce his identification in Mong Kok on Dec. 19, 2014.
Earlier in the day, the iconic Lion Rock banner made a fourth appearance on the famous hill in Kowloon peninsular.
— Kris Cheng (@krislc) January 3, 2015
Ming Pao reports that the banner was spotted at about 6:00 a.m. local time (Friday, 5:00 p.m. Eastern Standard time). Police were notified an hour later, and the banner was taken down by noon.
Local rock climbing group “Hong Kong Spidie” put up the original banner, which bears the words “I want genuine universal suffrage,” on Oct. 23, 2014. The group inspired others to hang other banners from different peaks in Hong Kong.
Pro-democracy protesters have also vowed to put up ten banners for every one taken down.
Smaller versions of the Lion Rock banner have been made and displayed by Umbrella Movement supporters in Hong Kong and around the world.
— Rose Tang (唐路） (@rosetangy) December 28, 2014
Meanwhile, the 14-year-old girl who was sent to a children’s home for chalking flowers has a message for her supporters.
In a Facebook post, the teen thanked the “brothers and sisters” who stood by her, saying that she is “touched and no longer feel(s) lonely.”
On the advice of lawyer and political activist Martin Lee, the girl says she won’t accept interviews from reporters until her court hearing on Jan. 19. The girl adds that she and her family need some space.
“Chalk flower girl” seeks understanding from her supporters, thanks them for their encouragement, and says that she will study hard and not let anyone down.