'Surreal': Hong Kong Protesters Ignore Tear Gas as They Burn 'Ghost Money' for Traditional Holiday

As police fired tear gas in Hong Kong’s Sham Shui Po area on the night of August 14, causing some protesters to flee, others continued to burn paper “ghost money” in celebration of the upcoming Hungry Ghost Festival, a traditional Asian holiday.

Hungry Ghost Festival, celebrated this year on August 15, is a holiday where Buddhists and Taoists set aside offerings for their ancestors and burn incense and joss paper – also referred to in Chinese as “paper money” or “ghost money” – to commemorate the deceased.

This year, according to Channel NewsAsia, demonstrators burnt joss paper in front of Sham Shui Po’s police station as a form of protest, and pieces of paper with Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s face on them – dubbed “hell money” – were also burnt.

This footage, filmed by Radio Television Hong Kong reporter Frances Sit, shows groups of protesters gathering outside the police station in Sham Shui Po and shining laser pointers, which had been previously pointed at police cameras to prevent identification. After riot police emerge and fire tear gas, some demonstrators disperse, but others linger on the roadside, continuing to burn joss money. Sit wrote on Twitter that the sight was “surreal.” Credit: Frances Sit/RTHK via Storyful