Armed with a helmet, liquid band-aid spray and a mask, a Hong Kong-Kiwi woman will be going to the front lines of a massive anti-extradition protest at the Chinese Special Administrative region this weekend amid fears that it could turn violent again.
Stella Cheung, 42, a finance professional, was protesting at the Sheung Wan train station last Sunday when news broke that protesters at the Yuen Long station 29km away were brutally attacked by suspected triad gangsters dressed in white, leaving 45 people injured, some critical.
"We are all in shock, never in our wildest imagination did we think something like this can happen here," said Cheung, who has been living in Hong Kong for about 20 years.
Social media footage showed a group of men in white shirts indiscriminately attacking black-clad protesters and passersby in the Yuen Long area. This is the first time that this level of violence has been seen in the ongoing demonstrations which started more than a month ago.
Cheung said the violence has left the city in shock and that she and others there are "living in fear".
"Everywhere helmets and masks are selling out, and people are now using whatever they can, even cooking pots as helmets and woks as shields to protect themselves," she said.
Rather than spreading out across the city, Cheung said pro-democracy protesters will be gathering at the Yuen Long area.
"After last Sunday, we feel the violence will get even worse this time and if we are all together, at least there will be safety in numbers," she said.
Although she holds a New Zealand passport, Cheung said she was born in Hong Kong and still regards it as her motherland.
The protests started because of a proposed extradition bill that would have allowed people to be sent to China for trial, which critics say would undermine Hong Kong's judicial independence and lead to prosecution of political prisoners for made-up offences.
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"If this bill becomes law, it will be the end of Hong Kong as we know it and that is why we are protesting," said Cheung.
Lawrence Law, a former reporter with New Zealand Chinese television station World TV, has written to the Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister and is frustrated at the lack of response from the New Zealand Government.
"All my emails have been ignored and no reply given," Law said.
Law operates a trading business in Mount Albert, and his work requires him to travel to Hong Kong several times a year.
One journalist was attacked while she was live-streaming for news website Stand News last Sunday, and the Hong Kong Journalist Association said some reporters on the scene had their equipment seized.
A petition seeking the New Zealand Government to "express concern" at the proposed law change that could affect New Zealanders in Hong Kong has so far garnered 970 signatures. It closes on July 31.
In Auckland, an anti-extradition law rally at Aotea Square on June 16 was attended by about 600 people, and organiser Serena Lee said more rallies may be organised if the situation worsens.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is advising New Zealanders in Hong Kong to avoid all protests and demonstrations.
"Even those intended to be peaceful have the potential to turn violent," it said.
On Wednesday, a spokesman for China's defence ministry suggested the military could be mobilised in Hong Kong to maintain public order if necessary.