2019 Prince Edward station attack

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2019 Prince Edward station attack
Part of 2019–2020 Hong Kong protests
Hong Kong police storm Prince Edward station and attack civilians on 31 August 2019.
Date31 August 2019; 2 years ago (2019-08-31) (Hong Kong Time UTC+8)
Location
Resulted in(See Aftermath section)
Parties to the civil conflict
Anti-extradition bill demonstrators and passengers
Pro-government demonstrators
Number
Casualties
InjuriesAt least 10 (people sent to hospital)
Arrested65 (as of 1 November, all protestors or passengers)[1]
Charged2 (as of 1 November)
2019 Prince Edward station attack is located in Hong Kong
2019 Prince Edward station attack
Location within Hong Kong

The 2019 Prince Edward station attack, also known as the 31 August MTR station incident[2] (Chinese: 831太子站事件),[3][4][5][6] was an incident in which Hong Kong police indiscriminately[7][8][9] attacked passengers while arresting protesters who were returning home via Prince Edward station, on the night of 31 August 2019, after a protest was held that same day. The event was described as the police version of the 2019 Yuen Long attack, and the police have been criticised as acting like terrorists.[10][11] Rumours have been circulated that several protesters were beaten to death at the station, but the police have rejected allegations.[12] However, a mourning vigil was set up by a group of residents outside one exit of the station.[13]

It is known in Hong Kong as the 831 incident, after the date 31 August.[14]

Timeline[edit]

According to several news reports, some protesters conducted flash mobbing on MTR lines, damaging Mong Kok MTR station.[15] They clashed with counter-demonstrators in one of the cabins of the Kwun Tong line train which was heading towards Tiu Keng Leng, as well as on the platform.[15][16] The counter-demonstrators were armed with weapons including hammers[15][17] and box cutters.[15]

Videos showed the police Raptor Squads arriving at Prince Edward station, clubbing and pepper-spraying travellers without arresting them. They also conducted arrests of others who were on the platform and on stationary trains on the Kwun Tong line.[18]

One passenger of the Central-bound train on the Tsuen Wan line bore witness that not all of the passengers in his cabin were protesters;[15] other witnesses also accused the police of attacking those passengers without reason.[15]

The train[which?] then went to Yau Ma Tei station, where the injured passengers were evacuated by medics; bloodied bandages, tissues and umbrellas could be found littering the scene. The station was closed soon afterwards by the police, even journalists and paramedics were not allowed to enter. One paramedic was reported waving a banner with the words "Hindering aid operations is violating International humanitarian law".[19]

After the raid, seven people were sent to hospital. An additional three people from the initial Kwun Tong line conflict had been sent to the hospital via Yau Ma Tei station, before the arrival of the officers of the Hong Kong Fire Services Department. The department also admitted that the police who arrived before them had temporarily blocked the access of the platforms, delaying the rescue.[20] It was reported that it took the injured over 2.5 hours to reach hospital.[21]

A total of 65 people were arrested as of 1 November for involvement in the incident.[1] The police accused the suspects of "unauthorised assembly," "criminal damage," and "obstruction of a police officer in the execution of his duty".[22] However, it was reported that the counter-demonstrator armed with a hammer was not among those arrested, despite witness' claims that he had injured several people.[15]

According to the police, two arrested suspects, aged 33 and 13, were formally charged for "possession of offensive or lethal weapons".[1] Their cases were mentioned in the court for the first time on 2 September.[1] The second mention of their cases were queued in November.[23][24] 62 people were under bail as of 1 November.[1] Another teen, aged 15, was released in October without charges. The court had refused the application of his protective order by the police.[25]

Aftermath[edit]

The Hong Kong Fire Services Department's preliminary initial records had changed from 10 to 7 injured.[20]

On 6 September 2019, several sit-in protests were reported in September wherein protesters demanded MTR to release the footage of the closed-circuit television[26] and were "calling on police to apologise for excessive violence".[27] One of the exits of the MTR station became an unofficial memorial wall with flowers and messages. Despite attempts to destroy the memorial by other residents,[28] flowers and messages were re-built by the protesters.[13]

On 31 October, another protest was held near the station to mark the two month commemoration of the incident.[29] However, the protest, which did not have a permit from the police, resulted in a clash between protesters and the police, with at least three people injured and least one protester arrested.[30] It was also reported that the protesters had vandalised traffic lights and the exits of Mong Kok MTR station, as well as starting a fire on nearby Nathan Road.[29]

One of the teens who was injured by the police filed a civil lawsuit against the Hong Kong Police Force, alleging that the attacks against him constituted assault and he was therefore entitled to damages.[31]

On 10 November 2021, a male student of the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts pleaded guilty at the District Court to the rioting charges of damaging station property, and threatening passers-by with a cane. Justice Douglas Yau said that Wan was a "frontline offender" and "wantonly vandalised" the station's control room. The starting point for sentencing was four years. With consideration of Wan's guilty plea, the sentence handed out was 40 months.[32]

Reactions[edit]

Critics also made sarcastic comments about the police, claiming they were blatantly lying.[33] During the press meeting, the police claimed they were able to distinguish innocent citizens from their arrest targets. They claimed there were "undercover violent protesters" that had changed clothes to blend in, and denied attacking people indiscriminately.[22]

Amnesty International Hong Kong called for an investigation into the police conduct after the Special Tactical Squad stormed Prince Edward station and beat and pepper-sprayed the commuters inside.[34]

The Hong Kong Bar Association accused the police of abusing its power, claiming "Video footage from the Prince Edward MTR station last Saturday night show riot police launching indiscriminate attacks, without any apparent lawful excuse, and using pepper spray on passengers inside a train compartment or hitting them with batons, especially since the officers in question left the train carriage afterwards without making any arrests".[35]

Both the Hong Kong Public Opinion Research Institute (PORI; a successor of HKU Public Opinion Programme [zh]) and CUHK Centre for Communication and Public Opinion Survey made opinion polls for the protest and incidents. In the CUHK's fifth survey for the whole protest, 52% of interviewees believe the rumour that the police had killed citizens during the 31 August raid in the MTR station.[36] In PORI's survey, conducted in October, 48% of interviewees believe the rumour.[36][37] Critics urged the government to establish an Independent Commission of Inquiry, by invoking the Commissions of Inquiry Ordinance, to respond to the situation.[36]

A day before the second anniversary of the incident, a local reporter said he had received mail containing a large razor blade and an anonymous message that he should keep quiet about 831 to protect his family.[38]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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  2. ^ "Fire dept. says recording of Aug 31 MTR incident was within normal practice, condemns logbook leak". hongkongfp.com. Hong Kong Free Press. 18 September 2019. Archived from the original on 12 October 2019. Retrieved 27 October 2019.
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  14. ^ Jha, Preeti (31 August 2020). "Hong Kong protests: The flashpoints in a year of anger". BBC. Retrieved 6 March 2021.
  15. ^ a b c d e f g 速龍亂棍 街坊遭殃 傷者:打完唔拉人. Apple Daily. Hong Kong. 2 September 2019. Archived from the original on 27 October 2019. Retrieved 27 October 2019.
  16. ^ 血濺太子站 藍衫漢揮錘大戰示威者. Oriental Daily (in Chinese (Hong Kong)). Hong Kong: Oriental Press Group. 1 September 2019. Archived from the original on 27 October 2019. Retrieved 27 October 2019.
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  18. ^ 楊婉婷; 李穎霖; 蔡正邦; 陳蕾蕾 (1 September 2019). 【8.31遊行】還原太子車廂暴力因由 示威者與大叔衝突 速龍揮棍. HK01 (in Chinese (Hong Kong)). Archived from the original on 2 September 2019. Retrieved 30 October 2019.
  19. ^ 救護員哭求港警開地鐵閘門:打我、射我都可以,請讓我去救人. Mirror Media (in Chinese (Taiwan)). 1 September 2019. Archived from the original on 3 September 2019. Retrieved 30 October 2019 – via ETtoday.
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  21. ^ 【反修例】831示威太子站傷者要等港鐵「特別列車」 救護員花2.5小時才能將傷者送院. Topick (in Chinese (Hong Kong)). Hong Kong Economic Times Holdings. Archived from the original on 30 October 2019. Retrieved 30 October 2019.
  22. ^ a b 【8.31遊行】太子站爆衝突40人被捕 警:激進示威者換衫喬裝市民. HK01 (in Chinese (Hong Kong)). 1 September 2019. Archived from the original on 2 September 2019. Retrieved 27 October 2019.
  23. ^ 【逃犯條例・831】文員太子站涉攜彈弓螺絲帽 控藏攻擊性武器 (23:28). online "instant" news. Ming Pao (in Chinese (Hong Kong)). Hong Kong. 2 September 2019. Archived from the original on 27 October 2019. Retrieved 27 October 2019.
  24. ^ "【831衝突】太子站13及15歲被捕少年提堂 家屬反對記者旁聽". stheadline.com (in Chinese (Hong Kong)). Sing Tao News Corp. 2 September 2019. Archived from the original on 27 October 2019. Retrieved 27 October 2019.
  25. ^ 官拒頒保護令 8‧31被捕少年當庭釋放. Ming Pao (in Chinese (Hong Kong)). Hong Kong: Media Chinese International. 19 October 2019. Archived from the original on 1 November 2019. Retrieved 1 November 2019.
  26. ^ 港鐵因應有人群聚集關閉太子站. news.now.com (in Chinese (Hong Kong)). Hong Kong: Now TV. 6 September 2019. Archived from the original on 27 October 2019. Retrieved 10 September 2019.
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  28. ^ 十多人毀壞太子站外鮮花 兩名記者遇襲. news.now.com (in Chinese (Hong Kong)). Hong Kong: Now TV. 10 September 2019. Archived from the original on 27 October 2019. Retrieved 11 September 2019.
  29. ^ a b Choi, Martin; Magramo, Kathleen; Leung, Kanis (31 October 2019). "Halloween protests in Hong Kong: police fire tear gas in Mong Kok, Central and Sheung Wan as people denounce alleged force brutality and march against mask ban". South China Morning Post. Hong Kong. Archived from the original on 2 November 2019. Retrieved 2 November 2019. Protesters gather across the city to mark two months since police operation in Prince Edward MTR station and to march from Victoria Park
  30. ^ 「毋忘8‧31」爆警民衝突 政務司長辦職員被捕. Ming Pao (in Chinese (Hong Kong)). Hong Kong: Media Chinese International. 1 November 2019. Archived from the original on 1 November 2019. Retrieved 1 November 2019.
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  33. ^ 邁克 (3 September 2019). 喬裝市民. "克社會" column. Apple Daily (in Chinese (Hong Kong)). Archived from the original on 27 October 2019. Retrieved 27 October 2019.
  34. ^ "Hong Kong: Rampaging police must be investigated". Amnesty International. 1 September 2019. Archived from the original on 1 September 2019. Retrieved 1 September 2019. In response to the latest clashes between police and protesters in Hong Kong on Saturday night – including one incident where police stormed the platform of Prince Edward metro station and beat people on a train – Man-Kei Tam, Director of Amnesty International Hong Kong, said: "Violence directed at police on Saturday is no excuse for officers to go on the rampage elsewhere. The horrifying scenes at Prince Edward metro station, which saw terrified bystanders caught up in the melee, fell far short of international policing standards.
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  38. ^ "【831兩周年】「被時代選中的人」各有堅持 前記者收刀片恐嚇信".