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Mob attack in Hong Kong leaves dozens wounded following protest march

Police in Hong Kong have been criticised for not doing enough to stop the violence.

Protesters during demonstrations in Hong Kong on Sunday.
Protesters during demonstrations in Hong Kong on Sunday.
Image: PA Images

PRO-DEMOCRACY PROTESTERS in Hong Kong were assaulted by suspected triad gangsters in an attack that left dozens wounded. 

Yesterday evening gangs of men – most wearing white T-shirts and carrying bats, sticks and metal poles – set upon anti-government demonstrators as they returned from another huge protest march earlier that day.

Footage from the attack broadcast live on Facebook showed people screaming as the men beat multiple protesters and journalists in Yuen Long station and inside subway trains, leaving pools of blood on the floor.

Hospital authorities said 45 people were wounded in the attack, with one man in critical condition and five others with serious injuries.

The city’s police force was heavily criticised in the wake of the attack, with many accusing officers of taking more than an hour to reach the station despite frantic calls from those under attack and then failing to arrest the armed men who stayed in the streets around the station into Monday morning.

Some men in white shirts were later filmed leaving the scene in cars with Chinese mainland number plates.

Lam Cheuk-ting, a pro-democracy lawmaker, was one of those wounded in the attack sustaining lacerations to his face and arms. 

He criticised police for their response and accused “triad members” of being behind the attacks.

“Their very barbaric and violent acts have already completely violated the bottom line of Hong Kong’s civilised society,” he told reporters on Monday morning. 

Nathan Law, a prominent pro-democracy activist, added on Twitter: “When the Chinese mobs are attacking the citizens, no law enforcement are there. Shame on the government.”

The clashes have ratcheted up fears that the city’s triad gangs are wading into the political conflict.

Yuen Long lies in the New Territories near the Chinese border where the criminal gangs and staunchly pro-Beijing rural committees remain influential.

Similar assaults by pro-government vigilantes against demonstrators during the 2014 “Umbrella Movement” protests were blamed on triads.

Hong Kong has been plunged into its worst crisis in recent history by weeks of marches and sporadic violent confrontations between police and pockets of hardcore protesters.

The initial protests were lit by a now-suspended bill that would have allowed extraditions to mainland China.

But they have since evolved into a wider movement calling for democratic reforms, universal suffrage and a halt to sliding freedoms in the semi-autonomous territory.

The city’s parliament was trashed by protesters earlier this month, as Beijing’s authority faces its most serious challenge since Hong Kong was handed back to China in 1997.

Riot officers fired tear gas and rubber bullets at anti-government protesters, hours after China’s office in the city was daubed with eggs and graffiti. 

Wang Zhimin, the head of the office, blasted the protesters on Monday, saying they had insulted “all Chinese people” as he called on Hong Kong’s government to pursue the “rioters”. 

Yesterday’s rally was attended by tens of thousands of people. It is the seventh weekend in a row that residents have come out en-masse.

© AFP 2019  

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