Multiple assaults occurred in Yuen Long on Sunday as people with opposing political views clashed amid heightened tensions over an impending national security law.
Pro-democracy activist Wong Ji-yuet and a pro-Beijing group wearing white “Protect Alliance Hong Kong” shirts set up separate promotional stalls on a footbridge connected to Long Ping MTR station. At around 6 pm, a 39-year-old woman and her nine-year-old son who were passing by were assaulted by two men aged around 40 due to conflicting opinions, according to a police report. The assailants left in a taxi.
The case was listed as assault occasioning actual bodily harm. Wong wrote on Facebook that a volunteer photographer from her team was also injured in the scuffle. All victims were conscious when sent to the nearby Pok Oi Hospital, however, the boy’s left eye was injured.
Apple Daily cited eyewitnesses as saying that throughout the afternoon, around 20 white-clad people holding rod-like objects had gathered at Long Ping MTR station. They had set up a street stall to collect signatures in support of the Beijing-promulgated legislation whilst chanting slogans.
The law, criminalising subversion, secession, foreign interference and terrorism, will be inserted into Hong Kong’s mini-constitution, bypassing the local legislature. It has raised concerns over threats to the autonomy of the semi-autonomous territory and the One Country, Two Systems framework.
The mother Ms Cheung told Apple Daily that she wrote a swearword on the “Protect Alliance Hong Kong” petition form. Dozens of supporters then surrounded her and hit her on the head. Her son was allegedly punched in the eye after he confronted the assailants, asking: “Why did you hit my mother?”
Yuen Long District Councillor Fleco Mo told HKFP he hoped police would do their best to find the attackers: “The mother took photos of the attacker for identification.”
“How police have handled this case is questionable. The lady returned to the scene moments after the assault and witnessed some officers surrounding the white-clad attackers. But it is unclear if any of them were prosecuted and officers refused to disclose the information.”
Mo also said a TVB photographer attempted to take a picture of the victims inside the hospital without their consent: “I was inside [the hospital] accompanying the three victims… The mother declined to show her face or be interviewed by the TVB reporter there. A TVB photojournalist, however, attempted to sneak a photo of her and her and son outside the A&E ward.”
Wong and Tuen Mun District Councillor Sam Cheung confronted the photojournalist who reportedly argued back saying he was only trying to get a shot of the boy.
Hospital security guards subsequently asked the journalists to leave.
‘Yellow’ restaurant owners assaulted
Later, at around 11 pm, a pro-democracy “yellow” business owner and his wife were assaulted as they left their restaurant on Sai Yu Street.
Yuen Long District Councillor Tommy Cheung cited the Jade Restaurant owner as saying he was inside his car when the four assailants attempted to open the door. He was reportedly pulled out of the vehicle and beaten. He sustained scratches to his face and neck, whilst his wife’s right eye and arms were injured.
Apple Daily cited the owner as saying he was unsure of the motives behind the attack but suspected it may be due to his political stance: “I am not 100 per cent sure but think it’s possible [the attack was political]. Our customers mostly live in the neighbourhood and hold similar views.”