Hong Kong protesters trash Mapletree mall, Christmas tree

Protesters run next to a burning Christmas tree at Festival Walk mall in Kowloon Tong, Hong Kong, 12 November 2019. (PHOTO: REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha)

By Faris Mokhtar

(Bloomberg) -- Hong Kong protesters have caused “extensive damage” to the Festival Walk shopping centre, including torching the mall’s Christmas tree.

Glass panels at the mall’s entrance were smashed, and the office lobby and balustrades on various levels of the mall were also damaged, Singapore-based Mapletree North Asia Commercial Trust Ltd., which owns Festival Walk, said in a statement Wednesday. The mall will be closed today.

The damage occurred during a night of pitched battles between protesters and police. The protests, which have been raging for five months in pursuit of greater democracy in the former British colony, intensified Friday after a student died of injuries sustained near a protest.

Shares of Mapletree North Asia Commercial fell 4.9% in early Singapore trade Wednesday to S$1.16, the lowest in 10 months.

Festival Walk, located near the Kowloon Tong subway station, has more than 200 retail stores and restaurants, including Apple, Marks & Spencer and Uniqlo.

The mall was Mapletree’s first commercial property acquisition in Hong Kong -- bought in 2011 for S$2.9 billion.

© 2019 Bloomberg L.P.