Triad-linked mobs beat Hong Kong MTR station commuters & protesters with sticks
Hundreds of masked men in white shirts assaulted commuters, protesters, journalists and Legislative Council members on July 22 in Yuen Long, a town in New Territories of Hong Kong.
The violence broke out following an anti-extradition protest earlier in the afternoon when police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at protesters.
Mob in white shirts attacking indiscriminately with weapons
A group of masked men in white shirts entered Yuen Long station in the West Rail Line and attacked people at around 11pm on Sunday night.
Anti-extradition bill protesters, dressed in their usual black get-up, were the prime targets.
The group in white used bamboo sticks, metal bars and wooden sticks to assault people in the station.
In a livestream video by StandNews, groups of men in white shirts surrounded protesters, attacking them with metal object, umbrellas and fists.
The journalist behind the camera was beaten to the floor twice while livestreaming the incident.
Passengers repeatedly assaulted by the mob as MTR stopped its service
In another livestream video, the assailants were seen lingering around the platform outside the train, while the staff announced that the MTR would stop providing services, urging all passengers to disembark.
MTR service was suspended at Yuen Long Station for a long time without explanation, leaving passengers with with nowhere to hide or flee.
The group of men in white shirts were seen intimidating the passengers with wooden sticks and throwing objects from the outside.
They then entered the train and assaulted the passengers.
Passengers can be heard shouting, “Please don’t!”.
Women were screaming and crying.
A young man even knelt down and pleaded with the group in white not to hit the passengers further.
He was then punched in the face after returning a pair of glasses left on the floor to an assailant.
Bloodshed at the MTR station
Severe injuries and bloodshed were seen in the MTR station in this incident.
According to The Straits Times, more than 40 people were injured.
Among those were former TVB journalist Ryan Lau and Legislative Council member Lam Cheuk-Ting.
— Galileo Cheng (@galileocheng) July 21, 2019
Apparently, a pregnant woman in white shirt was beaten by the mob as well.
However, police were not visibly present at the scene to attend to the violence.
Police arrived late because “they had no chance to check the time”
A group of police later arrived at the MTR station at around midnight.
When questioned by journalists regarding the police’s absence, as well as their late arrival, regional police commander Lee Hong-Man said that “he had no time to look at his watch due to the chaotic scenes at the MTR station”.
Lee added that “he is not scared by journalists’ questions”, even as journalists continued to ask for his response.
Police response: “We have our own way to investigate”
A police spokesperson subsequently spoke to the media about the violence in Yuen Long in early hours of the morning.
The complete question-and-answer session with the media can be found in the following thread, reported by Xinqi Su, a journalist at South China Morning Post.
When asked about follow-ups on the assailants in white shirt, he replied:
A person wearing white doesn’t mean he was part of the brawl. I can’t simply arrest someone because he is wearing white. We must handle different camps fairly. We can’t say someone was part of the brawl because he is wearing black.
Regarding police officers’ failure in taking down assaulters’ ID number for reference, he said:
As police we have our own way to investigate. We did take down their ID info but I couldn’t take down that of every one of them. Just like we couldn’t take down all the ID info of over 100 men in black.
As the videos showed the mob assaulting commuters with weapons, and that police were nowhere to be seen despite passengers’ repeated attempt to call the police, the police spokesperson added:
Anyone carrying an assault weapon will be arrested immediately. But we didn’t see any side carrying assault weapons. My criminal intelligence bureau colleagues didn’t see anyone carrying assault weapons when they arrived.
LegCo member shaking hands with men in white shirts
In a widely circulated video, pro-government Legislative Council member Junius Ho Kwan-Yiu was seen shaking hands with men in white shirts in Yuen Long, thanking them for their hard work.
Ho later said that it is nothing surprising that he shook hands with citizens, as he offered citizens legal services.
He also said he he was being attacked by others with ulterior motives, reported RTHK.
Ho’s action prompted people in Hong Kong to suspect that he has close relationship with the group, which appeared to be triad members.
— 香港時聞 HK Current Affairs (@hkaffairs) July 22, 2019
In the video above, riot police were seen communicating with two men in white shirts with wooden sticks, which contradicts to police spokesperson’s statement claiming that “they didn’t see any side carrying assault weapons”.
The absence of police at the MTR station and lack of action taken against the assailants suggest that the mob was harboured by the police, who appeared to be deliberately delaying their response towards the incident and tolerating the mob’s action.
Speculation has been rife that if these rumours are true, it might suggest collusion between the Hong Kong government, local police force and triads.
Top image via WilsonLeungWS/Twitter