Hong Kong protesters target mainland Chinese traders | AP business

Army soldier saluts to Chinese national flag during an open day of Stonecutters Island naval base in Hong Kong

Army soldier saluts to Chinese national flag during an open day of Stonecutters Island naval base in Hong Kong

Police try to disperse pro-democracy activists after a march at Sheung Shui, a city border town in Hong Kong, China July 13, 2019.

Thousands take to the streets to march against Chinese traders in what is fast becoming a summer of unrest in the semi-autonomous territory.

The traders have always been a source of anger among those in Hong Kong who say they have fueled inflation, driven up property prices, dodged taxes and diluted Sheung Shui's identity.

The demonstrators chanted demands in Mandarin, China's official language, for the Chinese traders to go home. Many street-level shops were shuttered during the march.

Parallel traders buy goods tax-free in Hong Kong to resell them in mainland China.

"We don't want to stop travel and buying, but please, just make it orderly and legal", Lai said.

"If we indulge crimes and breaches of the law, even whitewash, exonerate or give them support, that would be a blatant challenge to the rule of law in Hong Kong, which will eventually hurt the interest of all the Hong Kong people", he said.

In recent years there has been a backlash against the influx of mainland tourists and immigrants, with more hardcore protesters describing them in derogatory terms such as "locusts".

As to people's demand for reactivating constitutional reform in Hong Kong, Tam pointed out that the guiding principle is that every move in this regard must abide by the Basic Law and the framework announced by the NPC on August 31, 2014. This has become a major source of tension in the notoriously overcrowded city which already boasts one of the world's most expensive property markets.

Kong urged protesters to "cease all violent behaviors and to leave as soon as possible", asking those not involved in the demonstration to "leave peacefully and not participate in any other illegal behaviors".

This story was first published on CNN.com, "Hong Kong police pepper spray protesters at the Chinese border".

On July 1, the 22nd anniversary of Hong Kong's handover from Britain back to China, a peaceful march drew hundreds of thousands of people.

Critics fear suspects could face unfair and politicized trials in China, and that critics of the ruling Chinese Communist Party could be targeted.

More than 30,000 people on Saturday took part in a protest in Hong Kong's area of Sheung Shui against the practice of parallel trading with mainland China, citing rising housing prices and hygiene issues, local media reported.

The two dozen marchers were mostly older veteran protesters like Leung, in contrast to the students and other young people who have been at the centre of the past month's demonstrations.

The protests have a common refrain: Hong Kong's government, led by a non-democratically elected chief executive, is not addressing the people's concerns.

But many say China has progressively tightened its grip, putting Hong Kong's freedoms under threat through a range of measures such as the extradition bill.