Hong Kong protesters and journalists were attacked in the North Point area on Sunday night after a mass demonstration on Hong Kong Island turned ugly. Meanwhile, a man in Wan Chai was left in a critical condition after being attacked by protesters.
Protesters were retreating from Admiralty and Wan Chai following confrontations with riot police, as several MTR stations near the area were closed down. As they fled, some demonstrators lit fires, sprayed graffiti and vandalised MTR exits with some gathering outside Fortress Hill station at around 8pm.
Outside the station, more than 10 men in white with folding chairs and metal bars chased after protesters. Some chanted, “Fujian people, beat the cockroaches! Fight on police!” The area – which has been a historic hotspot for unrest – has a significant population originally from the Fujian province.
Riot police tried to stop the men in white and restrained one, but some of the men entered the station to attack people. Some in the station then escaped and asked for help from the police, as the men in white gave chase. Several of the men were taken away by the police.
Other fights ensued in North Point, with several journalists assaulted in the fray. According to news site HK01, phones belonging to two reporters – including one of its own – were grabbed by a man in white. Police tried to separate the group and ushered several people into an ambulance, including the suspect who took the phones. The HK01 reporter shouted at the ambulance to ask for the phone back.
Meanwhile, another man in white accused of attacking protesters was – in turn – beaten, according to footage shot by the University of Hong Kong’s Campus TV.
The man was seriously injured and showed signs of bleeding as first-aid volunteers tried to treat him.
In another clip published by Campus TV, a man in blue was seen swearing at and fighting with protesters.
Posted by Campus TV, HKUSU 香港大學學生會校園電視 on Sunday, 15 September 2019
At around 10pm, a group of men holding knives were seen pouring gasoline on Ming Yuen Western Street in North Point. Police arrived after receiving reports.
The men then entered the office of the Hong Kong First Youth Association. Police then entered the premises to investigate and took away at least nine people, including seven men and two women.
When the people were taken into police vans, several of them were not handcuffed as police shielded their faces. Journalists asked the police why their faces were being hidden but did not receive an answer.
At around 10:30pm, a young man was arrested in Fortress Hill after being accused of assaulting a police officer. NowTV footage showed that his head was pushed into the ground as he bled heavily.
炮台山一個年輕人被捕後慘遭虐待 (now直播片段)A young man was tortured after arrest (live video from nowTV)
Posted by Claudia Mo/毛孟靜 on Sunday, 15 September 2019
At around 11pm, police deployed tear gas in North Point after demanding protesters leave the area. The police then searched people in North Point and made several arrests.
Among them was a couple who said they were going home, but were then surrounded by police. Pro-democracy lawmaker Ted Hui stepped in and asked officers if the couple had been arrested and – if so – for what reason. Police ordered Hui to leave, but Hui said he was on the pavement and not within the police defence line. He was then arrested for obstruction.
Meanwhile, Baptist University’s student Broadcast News Network issued a statement saying that a student reporter was arrested after he was searched in North Point for holding a knife. BNN said the student journalist had explained the knife was for cutting festive mooncakes, but he was still arrested. The student’s parents and the journalism department of the school have been following up on the incident.
Attacks also took place in Wan Chai on Sunday. At around 5pm, a 49-year-old man was attacked by protesters at the intersection of Gloucester Road and Marsh Road. The man shouted, “I am a Chinese” and argued with protesters before he was attacked, according to an Oriental Daily report.
Protesters opened their umbrellas to block the view as they attacked him, according to clips shared online carried in an i-Cable report. Protesters punched and kicked him, and a man in black clothes hit him with an umbrella as he left the scene.
First-aid volunteers came to his rescue after protesters left. The man was unconscious and in a critical condition when he was hospitalised. His condition was later lowered to serious.
Hong Kong has seen 100 days of demonstration and unrest triggered by the soon-to-be-withdrawn extradition bill, which would have allowed case-by-case fugitive transfers to China. However, large-scale peaceful protests have morphed into sometimes violent displays of dissent over Beijing’s encroachment and alleged police brutality.
Hong Kong Free Press relies on direct reader support. Help safeguard independent journalism and press freedom as we invest more in freelancers, overtime, safety gear & insurance during this summer’s protests. 10 ways to support us.