Apple forced to close Hong Kong stores early amid protests

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Apple-Causeway-Bay
The Apple Store in Causeway Bay closed 5 to 6 hours earlier.
Photo: Apple

Apple closed all Hong Kong stores early on Monday due to growing concerns over more violent protests.

The move came a day after police fired tear gas during a clash with thousands of antigovernment activists. Other businesses also closed their doors and sent staff home early.

Protests in Hong Kong have been ongoing for weeks — and are growing more aggressive by the day.

45 people were injured on Sunday when a mob of vigilantes wielding bamboo sticks and wooden rods stormed a subway station and attacked others thought to be part of earlier protests.

Businesses across the city started closing early on Monday to protect their stores and staff.

Apple Stores closed up to 6 hours early

Five of the six Apple Stores in the city closed around 4 p.m. — five to six hours earlier than normal, reports The Wall Street Journal. The other was closed all day.

A brand of Hollister, located next to an Apple Store in Causeway Bay, also allowed some staff to leave early to get home to Yuen Long, where the subway attack took place.

Estée Lauder sent a notice to Hong Kong employees at 2:40 p.m. telling those who live in the Yuen Long and Tuen Mun suburbs to “leave the office as soon as possible.”

Apple employs ‘special store hours’

Apple wouldn’t comment on the early closures. Its website referred to the arrangement as “special store hours” but did not provide a reason for the change.

It’s not yet clear when hours will return to normal.

“It is clear that the situation will remain unstable for the next few days,” said a statement from a trade union for flight attendants at Cathay Pacific Airways.

The impact has sparked concerns over economical turmoil. The Hang Seng Index dropped 1.4% for the day, with shares of mall developers leading the decline.