Masked assailants storm Hong Kong metro station with batons in an apparent attack on pro-democracy protesters

  • A group of assailants stormed a train station in Hong Kong on Sunday night following a pro-democracy march, attacking passengers with batons, sticks, and other makeshift weapons.
  • Video from the event shows a group of men, some wearing masks and many in white t-shirts, storming the Yuen Long Station in the city’s north and attacking commuters.
  • Hong Kong’s hospital authority said at least 45 people were injured as of 2:30 a.m., the South China Morning Post reported, with one in critical condition.
  • The train station violence follows clashes between police and protesters earlier in the day.
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A group of assailants stormed a train station in Hong Kong on Sunday night following a pro-democracy march, attacking passengers with batons, sticks, and other makeshift weapons.

Video from the event shows a group of men, some wearing masks and many in white t-shirts, storming the Yuen Long Station in the city’s north and attacking commuters.

Live video posted to Facebook by pro-democracy lawmaker Lam Cheuk Ting shows men with sticks attacking passengers on a train car stopped at the station. Lam was reportedly attacked during the scuffle and can be seen with a bloodied lip.

Journalists were also reportedly injured in the attack. According to Jerome Taylor, Hong Kong bureau chief for AFP, vigilantes were working to identify the attackers and post their identities online.

Video showed paramedics on the scene unable to leave the station because of the clashes. Other footage appeared to show police turning a blind eye amid the violence.

Hong Kong’s hospital authority said at least 45 people were injured as of 2:30 a.m., South China Morning Post reported, with one in critical condition.

Witnesses say the gang appeared to be targeting commuters in black-shirts who had been at anti-government protests earlier in the day, according to Reuters.

Police clashed with protesters on Sunday, in the seventh week of protests against proposed legislation which would allow for the extradition of Hong Kong residents to mainland China to face trial.

The march, organized by the Civil Human Rights Front, began as a peaceful protest but quickly descended into chaos as some protesters advanced past police barricades and stormed the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (CPGLO), spraying graffiti on China’s national emblem and egging the entrance to the office.

According to police, those who charged police lines hurled bricks, smoke grenades, and set fires

According to the Civil Human Rights Front, 430,000 people turned up for the protests, while police put the figure closer to 138,000. Police dressed in riot gear fired rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse crowds.

The national emblem at China's Liaison Office in Hong Kong is seen sprayed with black liquid on July 21, 2019, as a fresh mass protest was held in the city calling for a total withdrawal of a now-suspended extradition bill.

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The national emblem at China’s Liaison Office in Hong Kong is seen sprayed with black liquid on July 21, 2019, as a fresh mass protest was held in the city calling for a total withdrawal of a now-suspended extradition bill.
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Kyodo News via Getty Images

On Monday, pro-democracy activists and lawmakers accused the police of purposely ignoring the violent actions taken by the rogue assailants.

Ray Chan, a pro-democracy lawmaker and member of the Legislative Council of Hong Kong, criticized perceived lack of police response to the incident.

“#HongKong has 1 of the world’s highest cop to population ratio,” he wrote. “Where were @hkpoliceforce?”

Wilson Leung, a member of Hong Kong’s Progressive Lawyer’s Group, called the alleged indifference demonstrated by police “absolutely disgraceful.”

Hong Kong Police condemned the violent attacks on commuters as well as clashes with police earlier in the day.

“Police do not tolerate any violent behaviors,” it wrote in a statement on the force’s website. “Police are now actively following up the two incidents in order to bring the offenders to justice.”

Hong Kong’s government issued a statement just after midnight, promising to take “enforcement action” against those responsible for both incidences of violence.

“Following the storming of the CPGLO building, some radical protesters initiated a series of violent acts in Sheung Wan area, despite repeated warnings by the Police. These outrageous, violent acts included hurling petrol bombs, setting fires and throwing bricks. Thoroughfares were also blocked.” “Meanwhile in Yuen Long, some people congregated at the platforms of the MTR station and train compartments, attacking commuters. It led to confrontations and injuries. “This is absolutely unacceptable to Hong Kong as a society that observes the rule of law. The SAR Government strongly condemns any violence and will seriously take enforcement actions,” it said.