(Photo Credit: Lihkg)
Snack shop chain Best Mart 360 has stated that much of the damage its branches suffered during Hong Kong's ongoing protests may not be covered by its insurer.
Best Mart 360 claims that up to 60% of its 100 stores across Hong Kong stores have been vandalised during actions related to protest activity. Currently, the group is negotiating with its insurance company over compensation packages. If its provider refuses to compensate or only partially compensate the claims, Best Mart 360 may need to bear heavy economic losses.
In an announcement uploaded onto HKEXnews, the company stated: "As at [sic] 13 October 2019, a total of 59 retail stores of the Group (Best Mart 360 and subsidiaries) were damaged."
In addition to insurance, Lin Tsz-Fung, chairman of Best Mart 360 mentioned in the same statement that renovation works of varying degrees will need be carried out on the damaged retail stores and that the normal business operation of these stores will be affected, depending on the level of damage.
He also admitted that the ongoing protest in Hong Kong had had a "certain extent of adverse impact" on the normal business operations of the group, which may affect its financial performance for the year.
The targeting of the store chain by more radical activists has stemmed from allegations that the management of the company is in some way related or has shown support to the Fujian gangs who have been regularly clashing with protesters, notably in North Point and Tsuen Wan. The company has strenuously denied this allegation.
However, Best Mart 360 is by far not the only brand that has had its sites take damage from protest activity. Restaurants and bakeries belonging to the Maxim's Group have also been vandalised, following comments made by Annie Wu Suk-ching, daughter of founder James Tak Wu. Speaking on behalf of the Hong Kong Federation of Women at the United Nations Human Rights Council, Wu Suk-Ching spoke negatively about the protest movement and claimed activists were damaging Hong Kong's reputation and damaging public facilities.
Her comments were not received well to say the least. with plenty of brands under the Maxim's Group - including bakery Arome, Japanese restaurant Genki Sushi, coffee chain Starbucks - having faced largescale boycotts as well as physical damage to branches. Messages have since circulated throughout the protest movement that property damage of this type is to now be avoided due to the poor optics they present but Maxim's is likely facing a tough autumn for its brands until the outrage dies down.