- Company says it is discussing the issue with insurer and will have to 'bear the corresponding economic losses' if it does not receive compensation
- Firm has become a target of radicals who accuse it of having ties to gangs that have clashed with protesters
A popular snack shop chain in Hong Kong, Best Mart 360, has said about 60 per cent of its stores had been vandalised in the social unrest that had gripped the city in recent months.
The company, which has about 100 branches locally, has become a target of radical anti-government protesters who accuse it of having ties to "Fujian gangs" that have clashed with demonstrators.
The company has denied the allegation.
In a public notice on Wednesday, the company said that as at Sunday, 59 Best Mart 360 stores had been damaged.
The company said it was discussing the issue with its insurance firm and that it would have to "bear the corresponding economic losses" should the insurer decline to compensate it or not fully pay its claim.
"Based on the preliminary assessment of the company's management, the social movement in the past few months in Hong Kong had a certain extent of adverse impact on the normal business operation of the group, which may affect the financial performance of the group," the notice read.
"The company will make a further announcement on the incidence and its influence on the group as and when applicable."
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Hong Kong has been rocked by more than four months of increasingly violent anti-government protests, sparked by a now-withdrawn extradition bill.
There were also reports that Best Mart 360 was among businesses that received blackmailing messages from a self-proclaimed democratic alliance, threatening to wreck their shops unless they funded the anti-government movement by bitcoin.
A company spokesman said on Wednesday it would not comment further than what had been stated in the notice.
Other shops and bank branches have also been targeted by hard-core protesters for their perceived links to mainland China or pro-Beijing views.
Businesses under catering giant Maxim's Group have been vandalised after comments by the founder's daughter criticising the demonstrators. Radical protesters have smashed windows at outlets such as Genki Sushi, Maxim's Chinese restaurants and Starbucks and defaced shopfronts with spray paint.
Established in 2013, Best Mart 360 mainly sells imported pre-packaged leisure foods, including snacks, confectioneries, dried fruits, baby foods and products, as well as health foods and supplements.
It has been rapidly expanding its branch network. In 2016, it had only 32 branches. The number jumped to 93 by end-June. And by October, there were about 100, according to the spokesman.
Its shares were listed on the main board of the Hong Kong stock exchange in January.
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