Hundreds of black-clad Hong Kong protesters filled Yuen Long MTR station and confronted police on Wednesday night in protest of a mob attack that occurred at the station a month earlier.
As the night wore on, protesters entered into a standoff with riot police, throwing objects, barricading the station exits and setting off fire extinguishers. However, most left without any direct clashes taking place.
On July 21, a mob in white shirts indiscriminately attacked people in the New Territories town on July 21.
45 people were injured in the incident, including anti-extradition law protesters, journalists, a lawmaker and commuters.
According to the police, 28 people have been arrested for unlawful assembly over the incident, including some with triad backgrounds – however, none have been charged.
The police force has denied all accusations of collusion with the triads. The force has also stood accused of failing to act quickly enough to rescue the victims.
Hong Kong’s anti-corruption agency has proactively launched an investigation into the attacks, to reportedly examine whether the incident involved any police misconduct.
Earlier in the night, in response to an online call to protest, demonstrators gathered quietly with little chanting of slogans.
Every hour, they stood up for a five-minute moment of silence.
Some covered right eye, in reference to a woman who may have lost an eye during a protest in Tsim Sha Tsui.
Ms Lai, a university student, brought posters and cardboard with slogans to display on the concourse level.
She said the government had yet to prosecute any of the 28 arrested, even though footage of the attack was shared widely.
“We need to remind everyone that this incident has yet to end,” she said.
She said she had zero confidence in the Hong Kong police force.
“We are in a situation that we need to run when we see the police, as they are dangerous,” she added.
Mr Cheung, also a student, wore a white hardhat to the protest, featuring dates of key protests.
“This is a way to express that when police and triads collude with each other, we need to protect ourselves,” he said.
He said it was clear that the men in white who attacked people possessed weapons.
“Metal bars and wooden sticks are clearly more like offensive weapons than laser pens,” he said, referring to the arrest of a student for buying ten laser pointers on suspicion of possessing offensive weapons.
Riot police appeared near the station at around 10pm, as they confronted protesters.
Riot police formed a cordon at some distance from the protesters, who had occupied the roads with makeshift barricades.
Police broadcast announcements ordering the protesters to leave, and to stop shining laser pens at them.
A press release condemned demonstrators said: “A large group of protestors have blocked roads outside Yuen Long MTR station and Nam Pin Wai tonight. They aimed strong beams at police officers, posing a threat to the safety of the members of the public and officers at scene.”
Shortly before 10pm, riot police advanced slowly towards Yuen Long’s station. They dismantled the barricades by hand, as protesters retreated from the roads.
At 10:18pm, riot police pushed forwards onto a footbridge, as protesters retreated inside Yuen Long station.
Some protesters used fire extinguishers to wet the floor and hinder the officers’ advance.
The MTR announced at 10:40pm that trains would only pick passengers up from Yuen Long Station, but not stop otherwise.
By 10:55pm, protesters had closed and barricaded a gate at the MTR’s exit G where they faced off with riot police.
Protesters then urged each other to leave.
Most demonstrators had departed to the platform area by 11pm.
By 11:30pm, most had left the scene.