At Least 45 Injured at Hong Kong Subway Station by Mob of Masked Men Following Large Anti-Extradition Bill Demonstration; Police Criticized for Slow Response

  • The Hong Kong police have come under heavy scrutiny after a night of violence when dozens of masked men stormed a subway station on Sunday and attacked and injured dozens of protesters and passengers as protests continue in opposition to the extradition bill.
  • At least 45 people were injured in the attack and one person is listed in critical condition after the men used metal sticks and wooden rods to attack people.
  • The attack occurred after police fired tear gas at protesters who refused to leave following a large demonstration of citizens fighting the bill and asking for electoral reforms.
  • According to reports, the attackers were “dressed in white shirts and suspected to be triad gangsters and assaulted pro-democracy protesters and passers-by in the Yuen Long area.”
  • Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam described the attack as “shocking.” She added: “Violence is not a solution to any problem. Violence will only breed more violence. We absolutely do not tolerate such violence.”
  • The government released a statement: “This is absolutely unacceptable to Hong Kong as a society that observes the rule of law. The SAR [Special Administrative Region] Government strongly condemns any violence and will seriously take enforcement actions.”
  • The statement also included “radical protesters initiated a series of violent acts…despite repeated warnings by police.”
  • But, other lawmakers are questioning why it took police so long to arrive at the scene.
  • Opposition lawmaker Lam Cheuk-ting “suggested the mob had ties to organized crime syndicates” and said: “Is Hong Kong now allowing triads to do what they want, beating up people on the street with weapons?”
  • He added: “They [police] deliberately turned a blind eye to these attacks by triads on regular citizens. I won’t speculate on why they didn’t help immediately.”
  • A pro-democracy lawmaker, Ray Chan, tweeted, complaining about the police slow response: “Hong Kong has one of the world’s highest cop to population ratio … Where were [they?]”
  • As of Monday, police announced they have yet to make any arrests and investigations are continuing.

Reference Links

  • The Guardian: ‘Where were the police?’ Hong Kong outcry after masked thugs launch attack READ
  • BBC: Hong Kong protests: Armed mob violence leaves city in shock READ
  • Reuters: Hong Kong police criticized over failure to stop attacks on protesters READ
  • Fox: Hong Kong protests grow violent as masked assailants attack demonstrators, passengers at subway station READ

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