Hong Kong

Racing off at Happy Valley as protests and police violence escalate in Hong Kong

The HKJC lose its second meeting of the year as protests cause traffic chaos

Multiple sources have confirmed that tonight’s Happy Valley meeting has been cancelled as protests and police actions embroil the city.

Protests have continued for the past 20 weeks but the last three days have seen a sharp escalation in both the disruptive nature of protests and the level of police violence.

Just before midday on Wednesday, betting markets for the meeting were taken down and Hong Kong Jockey Club staff were informed that the meeting would not go ahead.

Earlier in the morning the Jockey Club issues a statement in response to rumours police had used Sha Tin Racecourse as a temporary base for activity at nearby Chinese University of Hong Kong, which has been in a siege situation from early on Tuesday.

“It has come to the attention of the Hong Kong Jockey Club that there is a rumour circulating on online platforms this evening that the Sha Tin Racecourse has been used as a Police base,” the statement read. “The Club would like to clarify that this is untrue. The fact is some police vehicles accessed the racecourse road without notifying the Club.  The Police has not entered the Shatin Communications and Technology Centre (SCTC) or other Club facilities.”

The Jockey Club lost a meeting in September when the fifth fixture of the season, also at Happy Valley was called off.  In September it was the entry of a horse, Hong Kong bet, owned by despised lawmaker Junius Ho – a pro-Beijing hardliner who has advocated for violence against protesters – that created the possibility of protests on course.

On Monday morning protesters took to the streets in flash mob events aiming to disrupt the morning commute. A protester was shot with a live round on Hong kong Island, and since the protests have continued to escalate, along with the severity of the police response.

The protests began in June with a call to scrap a controversial extradition bill that would allow convicted persons to be moved between Hong Kong, Taiwan and mainland China. That bill has been withdrawn but the demands expanded to include a call for an independent inquiry into the Hong Kong Police Force, the changing of categorisation of the word riot to protest for the initial march in June, an amnesty for those charged and for democratic elections in the autonomous region.