New Territories, Hong Kong: Pro-Beijing triad memebers violently beat people in the Yuen Long MTR. The police turned a blind eye to the violence.
It is 11 pm. Splashes of blood decorate the floor and shrill yells fill the halls of the Western Rail Line in Yuen Long—the police are not there. Earlier that evening around 9 pm, hundreds of people dressed in white t-shirts gathered in the streets in Yuen Long; their union was to oppose the Extradition Law Amendment Bill (#antiELAB) protestors. Seen on the street with them, a pro-Beijing lawmaker, Junius Ho, shook hands with the group of weapon-wielding, white-clad people. One man said to Ho, “You are my idol,” and he replied, “All of you are my heroes.” Armed with bamboo sticks, black batons, and folded up umbrellas, they entered the West Rail Line, harassing civilians and threatening violence by waving their weapons. By 11 pm, these verbal skirmishes transformed into bloodshed. The people in white start viciously beating people in the station, targeting those wearing black, emblematic of the anti-Extradition protestors. Livestreamed footage displayed the thugs, now recognized as pro-Beijing triad members, enter a train full of screaming passengers before beating them. Throughout the station, they thrashed civilians, protestors, and journalists, sending 36 people to the hospital. It would take until 11:30 pm before the police arrived, hours after the first call when violence erupted.
Pro-government gangsters randomly beating ppl up in Yuen Long MTR, with lawmakers and reporters being beaten by gangs.— Denise Ho (HOCC) (@hoccgoomusic) July 21, 2019
No police had arrived on site on hour after ppl called 999 emergency line.#HongKongProtest pic.twitter.com/mXSft8jAXk
Any trust between protestors and the police, now seen as indistinguishable from the gangsters, is no more. Carrie Lam has condemned the violence, but to many, there is no forgiveness towards her and her associates. The responses from the police have been lackluster, and pro-democracy lawmakers accused them of being “servants of triads”. The 999 emergency hotline was unavailable that night, opening the police to extreme criticism from Democrats the next day: “[it] would not connect for a long time and the police station was closed. There were even police officers who pretended they didn’t see the actions of those in white shirts and red ribbons and turned around to leave.” Plenty of footage in live streams depicted the police walking away from the gangsters, leaving the civilians vulnerable to their attacks. A South China Morning Post reporter, Xinqi Su, said on Twitter that the “[Hong Kong Police Force] said they were alerted at 22.41pm on Sunday and dispatched officers there but they did nothing because they found themselves unable to and they had to wait for reinforcements.” Later that night, a video surfaced online showing a group of gangsters let go by the police, get into a dark blue van outfitted with a border-crossing plate between Guangdong and Hong Kong [粵 Z·80K7 港]. These plates are challenging to get, with some selling on the black market for over one million Yuan (USD$145,270). These suspicious behaviors from the police have sparked conspiracies, reaching a crescendo after a thousand officers in riot gear did not attempt to stop protestors from breaking into the Legislative Council of Hong Kong (LegCo) for 8 hours. They stood idly inside, waiting until protestors trashed the building before making a move.
The New Territories are on high alert, with shops closing early and patrol groups monitoring the area. The mental state of Hong Kong is worsening rapidly, with four suicides currently linked with the protests. There is a pessimism deeply ingrained into the Hong Kong youth, one that has continued to sink as their voice becomes severely mitigated to the point of being unable to represent themselves. With the government failing to accede to the demands of the people, protestors want the Carrie Lam, which Hong Kongers have long expressed anathema towards, to step down. The relentless dismissal of millions of people, the government’s praise for the police after sustained assaults on its citizens, and the police’s behavior during the Yuen Long attacks; The continued protests should come as no surprise. Hong Kongers seem willing to show their neighbors that they will not allow their culture to become a victim to China’s authoritarian conquest, and will fight for a democratic, independent Hong Kong. The ever-increasing animosity towards the government and the Chinese Communist Party is threatening a military crackdown from the People’s Liberation Army—a fear that is rising every day. Hong Kong is in a free fall and there is no way to stop it.