Hong Kong MTR station partially closed after protesters damage facilities in late-night gathering

Elizabeth Cheung

Two exits at a Hong Kong MTR station were closed on Friday morning after anti-government protesters had vandalised facilities there the night before.

The MTR Corporation said exits A and D at the Kwai Fong station reopened at 1pm after areas were repaired and cleaned. They had been closed while police investigated an incident that led to one arrest.

But the rail operator said services were not affected, and passengers used other exits to access the station.

On Thursday night, a group of masked protesters gathered to demand that the rail operator explain why police were able to fire tear gas inside the station on August 11.

A group protesters gather in Kwai Fong MTR station on Thursday night. Photo: Now TV News

The police later said their actions had been in response to protesters firing ball bearings at them, endangering the safety of officers and members of the public.

Protesters also threw what police called “smoke cakes” on August 11, weapons which smoulder and emit noxious fumes.

In Kwai Fong, local media footage showed people standing in front of the turnstiles and asking passengers to enter without paying.

Youngsters gather at Kwai Fong MTR to clean marks of tear gas fired during protest

An 18-year-old man, who worked at the station, was arrested by police on suspicion of assaulting a 25-year-old man, who suffered injuries to the face.

The MTR Corp said it “strongly condemned” illegal acts including vandalisation of turnstiles and station facilities and defacement of walls.

According to the rail operator, about 30 people gathered in the station at around 10am, and the number increased to roughly 200 an hour later.

Protesters had demanded the MTR Corp explain law enforcement by police in stations, but the operator said its representatives had already done so a few days ago and displayed relevant notices.

It added that the man taken away by police was responsible for station security and worked under a contractor. He has been temporarily removed from his position.

The corporation has come under increasing pressure for what mainland Chinese media have suggested is the free escape route it has provided for protesters who attack police, cause havoc in its stations, and then take the train to safety.

On Thursday, the rail operator announced in future it would stop services and immediately close stations without notice, “if fights, vandalism or other acts of violence” occur.

This article Hong Kong MTR station partially closed after protesters damage facilities in late-night gathering first appeared on South China Morning Post

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