Hong Kong’s 2-Million Sea Of Black – Here’s How Protesters Hide Their ID From Surveillance

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Jun 16 2019
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Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor announced at a press conference on Saturday that her highly unpopular extradition bill – which Hongkies called the “Evil Law” – will be “suspended”. She said – “The government has decided to suspend the legislative amendment exercise.” It appeared the 1-million protesters last Sunday had sent shivers down Carrie’s spine.


However, the protesters were not impressed with the “indefinite suspension” as they want the bill to be thrown away entirely. Activists refuse to believe Carrie Lam would give up easily since her career is on the chopping board. Just days earlier, the same Lam said that the bill must be passed and on Wednesday condemned the demonstrations as an “organized riot.”


Emboldened by the chief executive’s temporary defeat, critics said Lam should not only withdraw the extradition bill entirely and apologize after police use lethal force during clashes with protesters on Wednesday, she should also resign. Chief executive Lam, of course, has rejected calls for her apology, let alone resigns – reiterated that she planned to complete the Hong Kong’s top post.

Hong Kong protesters, reportedly hitting 2-million, have again taken to the street on Sunday (June 16) to demand an end to the proposed extradition bill as well as the resignation of the defiant Carrie Lam. The surprisingly large crowd, all dressed in black, has practically stunned the Hong Kong chief, forcing her to offer a rare apology.


A government statement says – “The Chief Executive apologizes to Hong Kong citizens for this, and promises that she will take on criticisms in the most sincere and humble way, striving to improve and serve the general public.” Still, protesters believed her words were insincere and was part of delay tactics. That’s because Carrie Lam had not apologised for anything that she had done before.


As demonstrators continue to push ahead, they also share tips on how to outwit the authorities from identifying them, especially the surveillance from mainland China. They fear arrest or reprisal. Hong Kong Police Commissioner Stephen Lo Wai-chung declared the June 12 protests a “riot”. The declaration means anyone arrested in connection with the demonstration could face 10 years in prison.

Chinese President Xi Jinping with Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam

Already, Ivan Ip, a 22-year-old student was arrested for his role as the administrator of a public chat group on Telegram called “Parade 69”. The group has more than 30,000 people. After forcing Ivan to unlock his phone and downloading chats from the group, the police then grilled him about the group’s creator, the purpose of the forum, and whether he knew of other groups for planning “radical actions”.


Telegram is one of the most preferred apps because of its encrypted messaging service. To disrupt demonstrators from communicating, coordinating and sharing information during the protest, which saw the Hong Kong’s parliament was under siege on Wednesday, Telegram’s founder, Pavel Durov, revealed that China coordinated a mass DDoS attack on the apps.


Other demonstrators, upon learning that Ivan was arrested on “public nuisance” charges, even though he had not taken part in the protests, had deleted all Chinese apps – WeChat, Alipay and Taobao. They have no plan to leave any trace for authorities and their sophisticated tracking system. They would install VPN (virtual private network) to hide their identity and to stay hidden.

Telegram Apps - Screen

In what appears to be a hilarious situation, protesters went back to the old way of travelling – buying single-use paper tickets as opposed to the “Octopus cards”, which can be connected to retrieve personal information like the owner’s name, photo, or bank account details along with reward points for shopping. They were simply too afraid that their data could be tracked.


The arrest of Ivan has also forced the demonstrators to use “disposable SIM cards” to communicate with others. Some actually bought fresh “pay-as-you-go SIM cards” or registered foreign numbers online to join groups. Protesters were also urged not to use credit cards or mobile payments to prevent surveillance or tracking, but pay in cash instead.


Taking selfies were discouraged for obvious reason. Activists were also telling protesters to avoid public hospitals over fears of arrest by police. At least four people were arrested at public hospitals after sustaining injuries during clashes with police. Apparently, hospital staff notified police of patients who acknowledged they had participated in protests.

Hong Kong Protest 2019 - Helmet, Hat, Goggle, Umbrella

But the best selling products were perhaps face masks, hats, helmet, umbrella and goggles. Besides providing protection from tear gas and rubber bullets, wearing masks could conceal protesters’ face, hence facial recognition software used secretly by the Chinese authorities could not identify the demonstrators. Protesters were also warned about revealing their identity when interviewed by journalists.


Like it or not, the identity-masking efforts by the protesters speaks volumes about distrust and suspicions between the Hong Kong protesters and the Hong Kong police, thanks to increasingly close cooperation between Hong Kong police and their mainland counterparts. The 2019 protest is very different from the 2014’s. Back then, it was rare for police to arrest protesters through social media.


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Its funny how there were so many people protesting on an extradition bill. The British government and most likely the American CIA must have been working hard behind the scenes. The great irony not seen by these Hongkees is that Britain is currently trying to extradite Julian Assange to America to be tried as a spy and a traitor! And the protest in London is confined to a small number of journalists. These Hongkees should mobilize and go to London to protest the extradition of Assange!! Can we all not see the hypocrisy and double standard of the hemonist-western powers???

Patrick Lee keep sucking china dick while living under the freedom to use Whatsapp, YouTube and play Facebook… no critical thinking even after 50+ years on this earth.

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