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Armed mobs attack anti-extradition protesters in a suburban Hong Kong subway station

Mobs stormed the Yuen Long Subway station on 21 July 2019. Screen capture.

On 21 July, hundreds of people gathered outside a suburban Hong Kong subway station and attacked anti-extradition protesters and commuters with metal rods and wooden sticks — causing at least 45 injuries.

At around 5 to 6 p.m., a mob dressed in white started to gather outside the Yuen Long subway station carrying metal rods and wooden sticks.

As protesters returned home after an anti-extradition rally attended by 430,000 people, the mob stormed into the subway station and began attacking protesters who were not wearing white-colored outfits (protesters from the rally mainly wore black).

A video published on Twitter by Hong Kong Free Press shows people in white assaulting protesters and commuters. Another video posted by Jun Pang shows the mob randomly and violently beating up an individual. The mob even entered a train car and screams can be heard as they attacked passengers, as shown in Denise Ho's video on Twitter. Some netizens believe the mob attacks were perpetrated by members of an organized crime syndicate called the triad who run their operations out of the Yuen Long area of Hong Kong:

Pro-Beijing lawmaker Junius Ho was spotted shaking hands and giving a thumbs up to some members of the mob:

So far, no arrests have been made and the public has cast blame on the police for failing to quickly respond to distress calls. On social media, netizens claimed that they had filed reports to the police that went unanswered. At 11:00 p.m., the subway station authorities announced that West Rail Line trains would not stop at Yuen Long because of the gathering crowds. Train services resumed at 11:25 p.m. and riot police arrived at 11:30 p.m.:

The government issued a statement condemning both anti-extradition protesters on Hong Kong island and the Yuen Long mobs for causing the violent scenes. The police in charge said that the violence was a conflict between two political groups.

At least 45 people were hospitalized and one was left in critical condition as a result of the mob attack. Among the injured is pro-democracy lawmaker Lam Cheuk Ting, 2 journalists from Stand News and Now TV and a pregnant woman.

Ex-TVB journalist Ryan Lau. Photo: StandNews.

Former journalist Ryan Lau was also attacked and received stitches on his head. He wrote down what had happened on Facebook:

昨天本來是安穩的一天,我沒有去遊行,整天都和小朋友在家玩。直到晚上看到元朗站的直播,才決定出發去幫忙。

睇住元朗嘅市民無辜被毆打,求助無門,作為香港人,我諗我只能夠盡力去幫助他們離開。到達現場後,先載了三位年輕人回家,折返了解仲有無人需要幫助時,就發生了事件。

呼籲大家逃走時,回頭發現有市民落單被圍毆,情況危急,無奈跑回頭想把他拉走。可惜,是不自量力。被四五人圍毆,鐵通打在頭上,血不斷淌,咁大個仔未見過咁多血。打了不知多久,有人走來幫忙叫停,anyway,感謝他。然後就不贅了。

漫長一夜,謝謝很多朋友的問候,原諒我未能逐一回覆。聽得最多的一句,係話「小心呀,屋企有大有細⋯」但係,正正係「有大有細」,我地先要勇敢去守護,不是嗎?

Yesterday I did not attend the rally and was playing with my kids at home. In the evening I saw the live-streaming in Yuen Long and decided to go there and see if I can help out.
When watching Yuen Long residents being attacked without any help from authorities, as a Hongkonger, I just wanted to help them to leave the scene. I arrived and drove three young people back home. I was attacked when I returned.
At the time, I urged people to leave, then I saw a person was attacked by a group of people, I went up to pull him away. But I was not strong and was beaten up by 4-5 people with metal rods. I had never seen so much blood coming out from wounds in my life. I didn't know how long I was beaten before someone came up to stop them. Anyway, I should thank him.
Such a long night, I have to thank all the friends who are worrying about my condition. I could not answer you all. The most frequent message was “be careful, you have kids and old people to look after at home”. But actually because of the kids and the elderly, we have to be brave and protect them. Shouldn't it be like that?

To read more about the anti-extradition protests in Hong Kong, visit Global Voices’ special coverage page.

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