Hundreds of thugs with suspected ties to the Chinese Triad attacked dozens of commuters and protesters at a Hong Kong subway station on Sunday evening, further raising the tension in the city-state which now enters its seventh week of protest.
Hong Kong protesters continue to call for the complete repeal of a controversial extradition bill that critics said would weaken Hong Kong's independence and subject it to the arbitrary and politicized mainland judiciary system, among other demands. Hong Kong's chief executive Carrie Lam has suspended the bill but refused to completely kill the legislation.
After a weekend of protests, dissidents were returning home when an army of mobs — all wearing white — spilled into the Yuen Long subway station and assaulted protesters en masse.
Pro-democracy demonstrators in #HongKong are outraged at the absence of police, as masked thugs attacked protesters with weapons on the subway.— FRANCE 24 English (@France24_en) July 22, 2019
?? @andyhilliar reports that many only had umbrellas to protect themselves as they waited "more than an hour" for police to arrive pic.twitter.com/7xSsCe4SxV
The protesters rampaged throughout the train station and injured 45, according to The New York Times. One video, below, claims to show the thugs attacking a pregnant woman.
This shocking video is making the rounds on #HongKong’s social media. It shows a woman, who appears to be pregnant, getting beaten up by thugs at a subway station last night.— Venus Wu (@wu_venus) July 22, 2019
It also shows them chasing & attacking a @StandNewsHK reporter (in a yellow vest) pic.twitter.com/DwURmHm47k
Police did not show up to the train station until roughly 45 minutes passed. By then, most thugs had disappeared. People even marched to the local police station to register a complaint, but the station reportedly closed their door on them.
At a press conference on Monday, the Hong Kong authorities denied having any ties with the hooligans and promised an investigation. They also explained that the response to the mass-attack was delayed because the police — which is already wracked by numerous allegations of abuse and excessive use of force — were overwhelmed dealing with several different matters in the area.
Since then, Hong Kong authorities have arrested six thugs who participated in the riot, some of whom were Triad members, SCMP reported.
While the authorities said they had nothing to do with the hooligans, one Pro-Beijing lawmaker in Hong Kong's legislature was caught on camera fraternalizing with the thugs, shaking their hands.
"All of you are my heroes": Pro-Beijing lawmaker Junius Ho appears to applaud, give a "thumbs up" & shake hands with men in white. https://t.co/9xSgQ38X8i It came as 100s of masked men in white shirts assaulted anti-extradition protesters & MTR passengers in Yuen Long. pic.twitter.com/ZTAv9XWzvB— Hong Kong Free Press (@HongKongFP) July 21, 2019
Triad, the name for the many criminal organizations based in the Hong Kong underworld, has long-established ties to the Chinese government. China has often sent thugs with Triad connections to intimidate dissidents and protesters.