A mob assaulted residents, protesters, reporters and a lawmaker in Hong Kong's New Territories hours after a rally against any attempt to proceed with controversial extradition law changes
. Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam
announced on June 15 she would suspend a proposed legislative change to allow extraditions from Hong Kong to the communist mainland. However, demonstrators demanded that the measure be permanently withdrawn. The Civil Human Rights Front claimed that 430,000 people on July 21 participated in an anti-extradition march from Victoria Park to Wan Chi on Hong Kong Island. When some of the protesters were returning home around 10 pm, hundreds of people wearing white items of clothing were waiting at the exit of Yuen Long railway station in the New Territories. They immediately began assaulting protesters who were dressed in black. Witnesses said members of the anti-protest mob even got inside the station and on to platforms to bash people. At least 45 people who were bloodied and injured were sent for hospital treatment, including a pregnant woman.
Many citizens called an emergency hotline for help, but police reputedly did not arrive until an hour after the violence broke out and even then failed to make any arrests. Catherine Chan, a Catholic who returned from the rally to Yuen Long, told ucanews.com that she was afraid, angry and heart broken over the attack. Chan said she had previously “never thought that Hong Kong would become unsafe” but added that she would not stop attending protests on the extradition issue. The attacks are suspected by rally organizers of having links to a criminal organization and a local pro-establishment lawmaker. Church reactions
During the attack, Holy Redeemer Church and St. Jerome Church located close to Yuen Long immediately opened their doors to people in need. Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Ha Chi-shing
said the violence in Yuen Long made people extremely angry but at the same time he asked God to lead people to control their emotions. He also prayed that the injured recover quickly and that police and authorities do their duty and arrest the culprits. Likewise, the Hong Kong Diocese issued a statement calling for the wrongdoers to be "brought to justice". Pointing at the communist regime
Protesters surrounded the communist mainland's liaison office at Sai Wan on Hong Kong Island and smeared it with ink, prompting police to use tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse them. Wang Zhimin, Director of the liaison office, on July 22 condemned the attack and said the "rioters" would be punished. "The recent intense protests in Hong Kong completely went beyond the limits of peaceful demonstration," he said. "Some protesters publicly challenged the bottom line of the city’s rule of law, the authority of the constitution and the Basic Law, as well as the central government’s authority, sovereignty, national security, dignity and symbols." See video footage below:
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