Protesters in Hong Kong are organizing a march in Yuen Long in the New Territories this Saturday, demanding an independent investigation into the violence allegedly involving organized crime groups at the MTR station there last Sunday.
A Yuen Long resident said he had applied for police approval for the rally on behalf of the protesters.
The proposed march will start at 4:30pm at Shui Pin Tsuen Playground, a park opposite the Yuen Long police station, and then go along Yuen Long’s main road to the Yuen Long MTR Station. No villages will be passed through during the march.
The resident has applied for a letter of no objection that is valid until midnight on Saturday. He said he was not worried about violence as Hong Kong protesters have shown they are well behaved during marches.
The protest proposal came after a violent attack by people allegedly linked to triad groups, who targeted anti-extradition bill protesters and civilians with steel poles and sticks at Yuen Long MTR Station on Sunday night, leaving 45 people hospitalized.
Hong Kong’s police force was heavily criticized as its officers were nowhere to be seen during the 30-minute attack. There were also allegations that the police had colluded with the triad organizations because media reports showed the police releasing the suspected gangsters after the attacks.
Police chief Stephen Lo Wai-chung on Monday denied allegations of collusion, saying the redeployment of officers took time as many of them had been in Western District to clear anti-extradition bill protesters from the streets on Sunday.
However, Yuen Long district council member Johnny Mak refuted Lo’s comments, saying he had contacted police on Sunday afternoon after learning that some villagers were planning the attack. Mak received a police reply saying the force had a plan on how to handle the situation, Apple Daily reported.
So far, the police have arrested 11 people, some with triad backgrounds.
Meanwhile Ching Chan-ming, chairman of Shap Pat Heung Rural Committee, and a dozen village representatives went to Yuen Long police station on Tuesday, asking the police not to grant any “no objection letter” to the protesters, saying they would definitely safeguard their community.
Wong Wai-yin, a Yuen Long district councilor from the Democratic Party, said during a ceremony held by the Shap Pat Heung Rural Committee on July 11, an officer from the Liaison Office called on villagers not to allow any anti-extradition bill protests in Yuen Long.
After the speech, anti-extradition bill activities, including setting up the Lennon Wall, were either destroyed or villagers expelled the organizers.
Pro-establishment lawmaker Leung Chi-cheung said the July 27 Yuen Long protest was a type of revenge and worried it would further provoke confrontations and violence. He called for a stop to protests to let both sides rest.
Pro-democracy lawmaker Eddie Chu Hoi-dick also appealed to protesters not to follow online calls to destroy the graves of villagers’ ancestors or their ancestral buildings. Chu said if any of this happened, it would only justify the villagers’ call to “safeguard their community.”
There were online calls on Sunday for revenge against “Yuen Long rural power” which was allegedly behind Sunday’s attack and a list of targets, including the location of the graves of lawmaker Junius Ho Kwan-yiu’s parents.
On Tuesday afternoon, Ho’s parents’ tombstones in Leung Tin village in the New Territories’ Tuen Mun were reportedly damaged and sprayed in black paint with the words “government and triads collude,” the nickname of a triad member, the name of local triad organization Wo Shing Wo and Junius Ho’s name.
Ho, a controversial pro-government and pro-police lawmaker, allegedly supported a group of armed gangsters who attacked people in the Yuen Long MTR station and has suspected links with triad leaders.
Ho stormed out of a television debate after arguing with Eddie Chu as he requested Chu ask the protesters to “stop all violence,” including any illegal demonstrations or their campaign to reclaim different districts.
Chu said that if the demands from the protesters were not accepted by the government, people would not calm down. This answer enraged Ho, who pounded the table angrily and blamed Chu of bringing violence into the legislative council and community.
Late on Tuesday night, Ho accused Eddie Chu of covering for the protesters who damaged his parents’ graves, claiming he had photos, and asked Chu to cooperate with police on his Facebook live program.
Ho threatened Chu, saying there were two ways ahead – one is to live and another is to die, and he asked Chu to make a decision as soon as possible.
Eddie Chu on Wednesday denied Ho’s accusation.