While public attention was focused on clashes between police and protesters supporting street hawkers in Mong Kok during the Lunar New Year holidays, similar incidents had been taking place at the Leung King public housing estate in Tuen Mun.
Since Sunday, a group of masked men, who identified themselves as members of the “management team” at the housing estate, had been harassing unlicensed street hawkers near the estate and forbidding them from doing business in the area.
Police officers in the area didn’t lift a finger to stop the men from attacking the vendors and residents, pro-democracy groups alleged.
At around 11 p.m. on Tuesday, the men attacked at least six vendors selling their merchandise near the MTR Light Rail station at Leung King Estate.
Residents and reporters were also hurt in the clashes, Apple Daily reported on Thursday.
It is suspected the so-called “management team” has triad background, the newspaper said.
In a joint letter to Police Commissioner Lo Wai-chung, the Democratic Party and Labour Party accused the police of not doing anything to help the vendors from being harassed and attacked by the masked men.
On Tuesday night, the masked men, with “management team” printed in Chinese on their black jackets, used metal barricades to encircle the street vendors, asking them to leave immediately.
Over a hundred people gathered at the site. A man, who was apparently supporting the hawkers, shouted, “Don’t move, stay here!” and confronted the masked men.
Police officers arrived and tried to prevent any untoward incident.
Forty minutes later, about a dozen masked men from the “management team” again confronted the vendors, and reportedly beat up a man until members of the public came to help the victim.
Police officers came and tried to separate the two groups.
However, one of the masked men continued beating up a man who was already lying on the ground in front of the policemen, but the officers didn’t take any action.
The masked man then fled the scene.
Four men were hurt in the clash. Wong, a reporter of local internet news website hk01.com, was at the scene reporting the incident when he was confronted by the masked men and shoved to the ground.
A local resident, surnamed Kwan, tried to help Wong but was also beaten up by the masked men, hk01.com reported.
At least three members of the “management team”, aged around 30 to 40 and about 1.7 to 1.75 meters tall, were involved in the beating, the report said.
Link REIT, which manages the commercial spaces in the housing estate, stressed that the site where the clashes took place does not belong to the group and it has no relation with the so-called “management team”.
Video on TMHK/YouTube:
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