It was not a peaceful Sunday (Oct 6) evening for TVB actress Celine Ma.
Media reports said she saw a crowd in Mong Kok trying to vandalise a Bank of China ATM.
When she started to film the incident with her smartphone, they turned on her.
A video on YouTube shows her being jostled by the angry crowd, with a man intervening after someone takes swipes at Ma, 51, with a tennis racquet.
He tries to calm things down by saying: “We are all Hong Kong people, don’t beat up a woman.”
Despite being surrounded, the agitated A Kindred Spirit actress holds her ground, determined to square off against the people taunting her.
Voices of “she attacked us first” and “take her away” can be heard amid the ruckus.
Ma, with blood on her neck and T-shirt, yells at those who try to lay hands on her to “let go of me”.
She points an accusing finger at various people, challenging them “to come to me” even as the crowd continue to harangue her with “you got violent first”.
At this point, a foreign journalist covering the Hong Kong pro-democracy protests holds on to her hand, and they walk down the street, with people tailing them, and shouting “get lost”, “stay away from her” and “tell the truth”.
The video then shows Ma talking to the media outside a police station, with her stating that the crowd reacted violently when they saw her filming.
They snatched away her phone but she chased them and got it back though it was now broken.
“You are safe now,” a man says after she adds that she was sprayed in the face too.
But Ma, in a teary voice, says repeatedly to the foreign journalist: “Come with me”, as the video ends with her entering the police station.
Her encounter contrasts sharply with the time when actor Aaron Kwok was trapped in a traffic jam – caused by protesters – in the Causeway Bay shopping district on Sept 8.
Then, those who recognised him crowded round his car excitedly just to take photos with him.
Asked by media about his views on the protests and whether he was concerned that his car would be damaged, Kwok just said “I am buying diapers for my daughter” before he drove away.
The face-off involving Ma, who reportedly supports the police, has further raised the fear factor among Hong Kong artists.
TVB actors, for instance, who have voiced backing for the demonstrations, are said to have been given the cold shoulder by their employer.
TVB, with an eye on not losing the huge China market, has shelved shows that feature the police or triads. The latter were said to have attacked protesters in Yuen Long MTR station in July.
According to the on.cc portal, singer-actress Maria Cordero said artists have been told not to venture out of their homes.
“I’m going to call Celine to ask how she’s doing. I am worried. Hong Kong is my home after all. I hope it’ll quickly go back to how it was like before.”