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Hot stock: MNACT down 4.9% after 'extensive damage' to Hong Kong mall from protests

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A man reacts as he tries to extinguish a burning Christmas tree at MNACT's Festival Walk mall on Tuesday.

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Protesters vandalise MNACT's Festival Walk mall in Kowloon Tong on Tuesday.

UNITS of Mapletree North Asia Commercial Trust (MNACT) faltered on Wednesday morning following updates on its Festival Walk property in Hong Kong in the midst of the city's unrest.

The counter sank 4.92 per cent or six Singapore cents to S$1.16 as at 9.31am. Some 9.2 million units changed hands, making it one of the most heavily traded counters on the Singapore bourse.

Hong Kong entered a third straight day of chaos on Wednesday after a night of intense battles between pro-democracy protestors and riot police that saw some of the most violent scenes in more than five months of unrest.

Festival Walk in Kowloon Tong sustained “extensive damage” due to various incidents on Tuesday night, MNACT said in a bourse filing on Wednesday before the market opened.

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A few groups of protestors smashed the glass panels at the property’s entrances, including the office lobby and balustrades on various levels of the mall.

The protestors also set fire to the Christmas tree within the mall, as well as the office lobby, the Reit added. The fires were eventually put out.

There were no reports of injuries at the property, the real estate investment trust (Reit) said.

Festival Walk has been closed since 2pm on Tuesday amid city-wide disruptions, and will remain closed on Wednesday.

MNACT’s manager is assessing the damage and will provide an update in due course.

Meanwhile, protestors overran City University adjacent to the mall. Students in hard hats and gas masks spent much of Tuesday barricading the university campus, making home-made shields, and stockpiled bricks and petrol bombs on bridges, Reuters reported.

On Sunday afternoon, altercations had also broken out at Festival Walk during what was supposed to be a peaceful gathering of protestors. The manager’s team were on site to immediately direct shoppers, tenants and their employees out of the premises, and the mall was closed at 6.45pm on Sunday, MNACT said in a filing on Monday.

There was minimal damage to the property from Sunday’s incident, and the mall had resumed operations on Monday.

The Singapore-based Reit generated about 62 per cent of net property income from Festival Walk for its second quarter ended Sept 30.