Some of the victims of the July 2019 mob attacks in Yuen Long have filed a lawsuit against Hong Kong’s police chief, seeking HK$2.7 million in compensation over the law enforcement’s failure to prevent the ghastly violence.
A civil suit was launched jointly by eight people, including Democratic Party lawmaker Lam Cheuk-ting, who was among the dozens of people injured after a group of white-clad men beat up anti-government protesters and others at the MTR station and other places in Yuen Long on July 21.
The writ was filed in the High Court against Police Commissioner Chris Tang Ping-keung, seeking damages for the alleged lapses of his officers in relation to the incident.
At a press conference on Tuesday, the six-month anniversary of the mob attack, Lam said they had no choice but to seek justice through the courts as the victims lacked confidence in the police, which had failed to come up with the truth behind the incident even after several months.
The court case is not only for compensation but also for seeking justice for all the victims and Hong Kong, Lam said.
On the night of July 21, white-shirted men stormed the Yuen Long MTR Station with poles and sticks and launched an indiscriminate attack.
While the main targets were black-clad people returning to Yuen long after participating in an anti-government rally on Hong Kong Island earlier in the day, other rail passengers and passers-by also fell victim.
Dozens of people were injured in the attack, which was perpetrated by suspected triad gang members.
Lam pointed out that the police had been warned of the possibility of gang violence before the attack occurred, yet the force failed to make proper arrangements in advance.
He also noted that some officers were captured on camera greeting the armed assailants that night.
Painting the attack as an act of collusion between the police and triads, the lawmaker said the lawsuit aims to ask the authorities to assume the responsibility of compensation for failing to perform their statutory duties of protecting citizens,.
One of the eight plaintiffs told media that she fell during the July 21 chaos and sustained a foot injury after the white-clad mob charged into a train car she was in.
The victim added that she has suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder since the incident, requiring her to take psychiatric medication regularly.
On Tuesday night, pro-democracy Yuen Long District councilors played video footage outside the Yuen Long MTR Station to mark the six-month anniversary of the violent incident.
Around 100 people joined the gathering, for which the police had earlier issued a letter of no objection.
The event ended peacefully at 10 pm, but then dozens of anti-riot officers suddenly showed up at the nearby bus terminal and at a light rail station as the crowd was leaving.
Amid a standoff, police officers were seen firing pepper spray at one point, which affected some district councilors and journalists among others.
Officers conducted checks on people they deemed suspicious, but didn’t end up making any arrests.
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