Hong Kong protesters clash with police, angry at lack of prosecutions after subway mob attack

By James Pomfret and Greg Torode HONG KONG (Reuters) - Thousands of Hong Kong residents held a sometimes scrappy anti-government protest on Wednesday at a suburban subway station that was attacked by a mob last month, angry that nobody has yet been prosecuted for the violence. Some masked protesters clashed with police, spraying fire extinguishers from the inside of Yuen Long station as others smeared the floor with cooking oil, beer and detergent to stop the police advancing.

Reuters August 22, 2019 00:07:02 IST
Hong Kong protesters clash with police, angry at lack of prosecutions after subway mob attack

Hong Kong protesters clash with police angry at lack of prosecutions after subway mob attack

By James Pomfret and Greg Torode

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Thousands of Hong Kong residents held a sometimes scrappy anti-government protest on Wednesday at a suburban subway station that was attacked by a mob last month, angry that nobody has yet been prosecuted for the violence.

Some masked protesters clashed with police, spraying fire extinguishers from the inside of Yuen Long station as others smeared the floor with cooking oil, beer and detergent to stop the police advancing.

Some blocked station exits with bins, booths and other station furniture as others sealed roads outside the station, aiming green laser beams at the lines of shield-bearing officers. Others threw empty fire extinguishers at police lines.

Many inside the station sat quietly.

It was the latest in a series of demonstrations since June against a perceived erosion of freedoms in the former British colony that returned to Chinese rule in 1997.

It also marked a return to aggression after a brief lull in tensions following a huge peaceful march on Sunday.

But the standoff stopped short of full pitched battles with police refraining from using tear gas or attempting to storm protester lines. Only one rock was seen hitting a police shield and most protesters were headed home before midnight.

The protest marked the night of July 21, when more than 100 white-shirted men stormed the Yuen Long station hours after protesters had marched through central Hong Kong and defaced China's Liaison Office - the main symbol of Beijing's authority.

Using pipes and clubs, the men attacked black-clad protesters returning from Hong Kong island as well as passers-by and journalists, wounding 45 people.

Democratic Party legislator Lam Cheuk-ting, wounded in the attack by suspected triad gangsters, said he believed the protesters wanted a peaceful night on Wednesday but he could not rule out further violence - from gangsters or the police.

“It is impossible to predict... It is deeply disappointing that all these weeks later we still don’t have an independent inquiry into those events,” he told Reuters.

SHARP REACTION FROM CHINA

Squads of police were stationed on the station perimeter and some protesters jeered and shone lasers at them. A small crowd of masked young men gathered on a station balcony, swearing and cursing at police vans down a side street.

Anger erupted in June over a now-suspended bill that would allow criminal suspects in Hong Kong to be extradited to mainland China for trial. Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said again on Tuesday the legislation was dead.

The unrest has been fuelled by broader worries about the erosion of freedoms guaranteed under the "one country, two systems" formula adopted after Hong Kong's return to China, including an independent judiciary and the right to protest. Demonstrations have included the storming of the legislature and havoc at the airport.

Beijing has reacted sharply to the protests and has accused foreign countries, including the United States, of fomenting unrest. China has also sent clear warning that forceful intervention is possible, with paramilitary forces holding drills in neighbouring Shenzhen.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reiterated Washington's calls for China to honour its commitment to "one country, two systems".

Speaking to CBS programme "This Morning" on Tuesday, Pompeo highlighted remarks by President Donald Trump at the weekend warning against a crackdown like Beijing's suppression of pro-democracy protests in Tiananmen Square in 1989.

Trump said this would make reaching a deal he has been seeking to end a trade war with China "very hard".

In an editorial on Tuesday, China’s influential state-run tabloid, the Global Times, called Monday's comments by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence linking the trade talks to the Hong Kong protests "outrageous".

Likely worsening already strained ties between Beijing and London, a Chinese national working at Britain's Hong Kong consulate has been detained in China's border city of Shenzhen for violating the law.

Some Hong Kong companies have been dragged into controversy amid the protests.

Pilots and cabin crew at Cathay Pacific Airways described a "white terror" of political denunciations, sackings and phone searches by Chinese aviation officials.

(Additional reporting by Felix Tam; Writing by Nick Macfie; Editing by Frances Kerry)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.