19 January 2020
One of the six men arrested on suspicion of links with the Yuen Long train station attacks is led away by police. Photo: RTHK
One of the six men arrested on suspicion of links with the Yuen Long train station attacks is led away by police. Photo: RTHK

Six arrested in connection with Yuen Long attacks

Six men have been arrested in connection with Sunday’s violence at Yuen Long MTR Station that left more than 40 people injured in suspected triad gangster attacks that mostly targeted anti-government protesters.  

The six are aged between 24 and 54, and some of them have a triad background, police said on Monday night not long after the arrests were made.

The suspects were arrested for unlawful assembly, but they could face more charges once the police gather more evidence on the rail station attacks.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Hospital Authority (HA) said 15 of the 45 people that had sought treatment for injuries following the Yuen Long attacks were still in Tuen Mun Hospital as of 5 pm Monday.

One of the victims was in critical condition while three others were in serious condition, it said.

In the violence Sunday at the Yuen Long rail station, a group of men in white T-shirts beat up people wearing black, the dress code followed by anti-government protesters.

While most of those who fell victim were people who were returning after participating in an anti-government march in the city, the incident also left some passersby as well as a few journalists and a democratic lawmaker injured. Some people on the streets in the district were also beaten up.

Among the victims, footage circulated online showed a seemingly pregnant woman lying on the ground, apparently injured in the chaos.

A rumor later had it that she miscarried. In response to an inquiry from the Hong Kong Economic Journal, the HA said none of the accident and emergency units at the public hospitals had received any case of a pregnant woman or miscarriage from the Yuen Long incident.

The Yuen Long attack took place on Sunday night when many anti-extradition protesters living in the district were returning after they participated in a march on Hong Kong Island earlier in the day.

Video clips doing the rounds on social media showed a group of white-clad people targeting people wearing black, using weapons such as sticks, pipes and brooms to attack them in the concourse and in train compartments, as well as in some other locations in Yuen Long.

The random attacks left dozens injured, with some of them seen with blood covering their faces and limbs.

Democratic Party lawmaker Lam Cheuk-ting, one of the victims, said he got 18 stitches for the wounds on his mouth and that he also suffered injuries in the right wrist and in the head after he was beaten up.

Calling the attacks brutal and organized, Lam slammed the police for failing to send officers to the scene immediately and for being seemingly indifferent when people’s lives were at risk.

Such conduct will seriously undermine public faith in the police, the lawmaker warned.

Asked about allegations by Leung Che-cheung, a lawmaker from the pro-Beijing political party The Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, that Lam may have provoked the white-clad assailants, Lam dismissed such talk.

He said he was beaten up for no reason and that he had told the goons to stop their attacks. Lam said he had called the police, but the officers did not arrive at the scene quickly.

Speaking to media, Chief Superintendent John Tse Chun-chung of the Police Public Relations Branch said what happened in Yuen Long was completely unlawful and that the incident marked an open challenge to the rule of law in Hong Kong.

The police will not tolerate any form of violence, Tse said.

Responding to accusations by some people that the police may have colluded with triad groups and allowed the attacks on anti-government protesters, Tse vehemently refuted the “very serious allegations”.

The police will never cooperate with any criminals, he said. The fact that no arrests were made at the scene does not mean police were not concerned, Tse added.

Defending the police inaction that night, Tse explained that only two officers on patrol had been dispatched to the scene after the police received a report about the incident at 10:45 pm. More personnel were not available immediately as a number of Emergency Unit cars were assigned to other work, he said.

As for the few officers who rushed to the station initially, they could not do much as there were about 100 armed people at the scene, Tse said. The officers could do nothing but merely evaluate the situation while waiting for backup, which arrived at around 11:20 pm, he said.

Had the officers opened fire at the station, that might have meant an even greater danger in terms of people’s safety, Tse said.

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