In an unprecedented move, Hong Kong’s rail operator has shut down all services after demonstrations and unrest broke out across the city on Friday night.

october 4 Causeway Bay MTR
Causeway Bay MTR. Photo: Sam Lee / United Social Press.

Protest began in the afternoon as Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced a ban on face masks through emergency legislation, unheard of in over half a century. The ban is set to come into place in midnight, but activists have filed emergency applications aiming to challenge it in court.

october 4 umbrella
Photo: Kaiser / United Social Press.

At around 10:30pm, the MTR announced the suspension of all train services, as well as all light rail and MTR-operated bus services.

Aberdeen. Photo: / United Social Press.

The MTR corporation said that it made the decision after a large number of stations were vandalised and subjected to arson. There were also suspected cases of trains being set ablaze and MTR staff being attacked, the rail operator added.

MTR exits in Causeway Bay were set alight, as the unpaid areas of City One station and Lok Fu station were vandalised.

october 4 Causeway Bay MTR
Causeway Bay MTR. Photo: Sam Lee / United Social Press.

At Sha Tin station, a fire spinkler was triggered, whilst masked protesters smashed a CCTV camera in Lok Fu.

Road occupations – as well as vandalism of state-owned or pro-Beijing shops and government facilities – were seen in almost two dozen separate locations in Hong Kong, from the financial heart of Central to Sheung Shui near the Chinese border.

october 4 statue democracy
Photo: Jimmy Lam / United Social Press.

Meanwihle, in Yuen Long, an off-duty police officer shot the thigh of a 14-year-old protester after he was surrounded.

And the wealthy Southern District of Hong Kong Island saw tear gas for the first time as riot police advanced against protesters in Aberdeen. Pro-Beijing supporters wielding weapons were reported to have attacked protesters in Aberdeen Fish Market.

The last scheduled ferry from Hong Kong Island was packed at around 11pm, as commuters sought alternative ways home. The Transport Department urged “members of the public to stay home and avoid going out” owing to the chaos.

More to follow.

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