Police have arrested six men on suspicion of unlawful assembly in relation to the attacks in Yuen Long on Sunday night.
A police spokesperson told reporters that the men were aged 24 to 54, and several had triad backgrounds, while more arrests are expected.
Hours after an anti-extradition march ended in police-protester clashes on Hong Kong Island, a group of masked men battered residents, journalists and a lawmaker, leading to 45 injuries. Police stand accused of delaying their arrival and condoning the actions of the mob.
On Monday evening, local shops and bank branches in several New Territories districts shut their doors early, and few pedestrians were seen on the streets. It came as rumours circulated online throughout Monday of further organised violence.
Police patrols were frequently spotted in Yuen Long, while civilians were seen organising patrol groups at Shatin’s New Town Plaza amid rumours of planned mob attacks.
Halls at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and the Student Union of the University of Hong Kong also arranged temporary accommodation for students who lived in the New Territories but feared returning home.
Government leisure and cultural facilities in Yuen Long, including Yuen Long Swimming Pool and several sports arenas, also closed early at 7pm.
No violent confrontations were ultimately reported, as of midnight, although – earlier – protesters vandalised the Tsuen Wan office of pro-Beijing legislator Junius Ho after he was filmed congratulating men in the area of the attacks on Sunday.
Bamboo sticks and pipes
Meanwhile, Hong Kong Economic Times vice-president Arthur Shek retracted his comments at Saturday’s pro-police rally calling on attendees to take action against anti-extradition protesters, likening it to disciplining children.
“Do you have a bamboo stick at home? Find a long one, take it out and beat your son. If you don’t have one, go to a metalware shop, buy a 20mm pipe, and teach your son,” he told the crowd.
Following a petition by Economic Times staff against what they called Shek’s incitement of Sunday night’s armed violence, he apologised for his remarks in a statement in the newspaper.
“I spoke of bamboo sticks as a way of self-defence, and the premise is to reject violence and not perpetrate violence,” he wrote. “The following night’s violent incident in Yuen Long was neither something I predicted nor knew in advance about. I must condemn it because I do not agree with any violence.”
Protesters are organising a demonstration in Yuen Long against alleged triad violence and police inaction for the coming weekend. Other planned anti-extradition bill rallies across Hong Kong have been postponed to make way for the Yuen Long event.