Hong Kong protests: court hears of ‘chaotic’ Yuen Long attack as witness testifies to being chased, assaulted while helping reporter

Jasmine Siu
·4-min read

A man has testified to being chased and assaulted while trying to protect a journalist as they filmed a “chaotic” attack involving a white-clad mob in a northern Hong Kong railway station in 2019.

His testimony on Thursday was the first witness account presented in the District Court trial of six men, who have denied rioting and wounding others in and around Yuen Long MTR station on the night of July 21 and the following morning.

The prosecution witness, named only as A in court to protect his identity, said he had arrived at the station with his wife on board a Tuen Mun-bound train, from Nam Cheong, at about 10.43pm.

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As the train door opened, he noticed a group of around 10 Chinese men in white shirts, some with their hair dyed gold, gathering on the opposite side of the platform.

There were also other people on the platform advising passengers to stay on the train, claiming that there was an attack on the station concourse below, in which people were being assaulted “regardless of the colour of their clothes”, he said.

Men in white T-shirts with poles seen in Yuen Long that night. Photo: Reuters
Men in white T-shirts with poles seen in Yuen Long that night. Photo: Reuters

A recalled waiting for the train to start but eventually deciding to switch modes to the light rail for Tuen Mun, as their service was delayed.

At 10.46pm, A and his wife reached the concourse on the lower floor to find some 20 people, who included then opposition lawmaker Lam Cheuk-ting, gathering in the paid area while a larger group of white-clad men and women were lingering outside the gates, near Exit F.

“At the time I was most affected by the sight of broken wooden sticks and a pool of blood on the floor,” he testified behind a screen shielding him from the public.

Prosecutors admit no evidence six men on trial over Yuen Long attack organised it

He later learned that a woman had been attacked and was receiving first aid in the station toilet.

The next thing he remembered was hearing Lam said he had contacted Yuen Long police and that officers would be arriving soon, while those outside the gates tapped at the turnstiles and the surrounding glass panels upon seeing the politician.

The two parties then engaged in a shouting match, he said.

As the crowds grew emotional, A took out his iPhone 8 to start taking pictures and to live-stream on social media at 10.49pm.

“The situation was very chaotic,” he recalled.

The Yuen Long attack occurred at the height of the city’s months-long social unrest in 2019.
The Yuen Long attack occurred at the height of the city’s months-long social unrest in 2019.

Footage of that broadcast played in court showed rod-wielding men, most of them dressed in white, pointing fingers and brandishing their weapons.

They also chased after those wearing black and tried to reach into the paid area to attack people.

At one point, the witness was heard narrating the video: “Some are holding knives. Holding knives.” Minutes later, a woman was heard screaming, followed by A shouting: “They are attacking a journalist.”

A said he then tried to reach the journalist outside the paid area to protect her, but was chased and attacked by others as soon as he emerged from the exit gate, breaking his phone and ending his broadcast in the process.

“I felt a heavy blow to my left shoulder,” he continued. “But I could not see where it came from.”

He will continue his account on Friday.

District Judge Eddie Yip Chor-man had previously imposed an anonymity order on 16 out of 25 prosecution witnesses, who included injured victims and eyewitnesses.

Merchant Tang Wai-sum, 62, has pleaded not guilty to two counts of rioting, while his co-defendants each denied one count of the same charge.

They are transport worker Wong Chi-wing, 55; cable worker Wong Ying-kit, 49; driver Ng Wai-nam, 58; village representative Tang Ying-bun, 61; and electrician Choi Lap-ki, 40.

All except Ng were also charged with one count of wounding with intent, which they denied.

Ng and merchant Tang denied a charge of conspiracy to wound.

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