Hong Kong activists defy police ban to protest triad attack
Several thousand protesters defied a police ban on Saturday to converge on a rural Hong Kong town where suspected triad gangsters attacked protesters and commuters at a train station last weekend, reports Trend citing to Reuters.
Police, widely criticized for failing to better protect the public from the triad raid in Yuen Long, refused to allow a planned march in the town on safety grounds.
But activists insisted they would push ahead and by 3.30 pm (0730 GMT) several thousand had gathered in sweltering heat, many chanting anti-police slogans such as “black police” and “know the law, break the law.”
Residents described a mounting police presence on Saturday morning, with force chiefs insisting they will still seek to keep order despite the ban. Extra fortifications have been placed around the local police station.
Police inside the station were filming the protesters as the march began.
Activists told Reuters they feared the protest could turn violent, given feelings of palpable anger among protesters over last Sunday’s events and a determination among some to challenge villagers they believe are close to long-standing triad groups in the area.
“The situation is escalating, and (Saturday) could be the start of a more violent period,” one told Reuters.
Local district councilors and rural hamlet chiefs earlier urged police to object to the march, citing grave concerns over public safety and fears symbolic village sites could be attacked.
Last Sunday, 100 white shirted men stormed the Yuen Long station in an attack that came hours after protesters marched through central Hong Kong and defaced China’s Liaison Office - the leading symbol of Beijing’s authority over the former British colony.
They attacked black-clad protesters returning from Hong Kong island, passers-by, journalists and lawmakers with pipes and clubs, leaving 45 people injured.
Reuters reported on Friday that a Liaison Office official had days earlier urged local village chiefs to drive away any activists from the town.