2019 Prince Edward station attack

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2019 Prince Edward station attack
Part of 2019 Hong Kong protests
Hong Kong police storm Prince Edward station and attack civilians on 31 August 2019.
Date31 August 2019 (Hong Kong Time UTC+8)
Location
Resulted in(See Aftermath section)
Parties to the civil conflict
HK anti-bill demonstrators and innocent passengers
Anti-demonstrators
Number
Casualties
InjuriesAt least 10 (people sent to hospital only)
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 31 August Prince Edward station incident (Chinese: 831太子站事件),[2][3][4][5] or 31 August MTR station incident,[6] refers to an incident in which Hong Kong police allegedly indiscriminately[7][8][9] attacked passengers during their arrests of returning home alleged protesters in 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 criticized 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, many people kept up a mourning vigil outside one exit of the station.[13]

Timeline[edit]

Citizens cried after being attacked by the police.
Passengers appear scared as police enter the train.

According to several news reports, some of the protesters conducted flash mobbing by using the MTR lines. They are accused of damaging MTR properties in Mong Kok MTR station, a station on the Kwun Tong and Tsuen Wan lines.[14] They clashed with anti-demonstrators in one of the cabin of the Kwun Tong line (towards Tiu Keng Leng direction) passenger car as well as on the platform of the Prince Edward station, where the passenger car was stationed.[14][15] The anti-demonstrators were armed, with weapons including hammer[14][16] and box cutter.[14]

The police later arrived the Prince Edward station and conducted arrests in the platform and on stationed Kwun Tong line (towards Tiu Keng Leng direction) as well as Tsuen Wan line (towards Central direction) passenger cars. [17]

According to the interview of a witness who was a passenger of the train of the Tsuen Wan line, claims that all passengers of his cabin were not protesters.[14] Other witnesses also accused the police were attacking those passengers without a reasonable cause.[14]

The train[which?] was then steered to Yau Ma Tei station, before the injured passengers were removed from the carriage by medics, and bloodied bandages, tissue and umbrellas could be found on the scene. The station was soon closed afterwards by the police. Journalists and paramedics were not allowed to get into the station. A notable paramedic showed a banner writing "Hindering aid operations is violating International humanitarian law", gaining some media coverage. [18]

After the raid, 7 people were sent to the hospital by transporting them to Lai Chi Kok station via Tsuen Wan line, and then via ambulances. Additional 3 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, and the delay of the rescue is not optimal.[19] It was reported that it took the injured over 2.5 hours before reaching to the hospital. [20]

A total of 65 people were arrested as of 1 November for involvement in the incident.[1] The police accused the suspects had committed "unauthorized assembly," "criminal damage," and "obstruct a police officer in the execution of his duty".[21] However, it was reported that the anti-demonstrator who armed with hammer, was not among the arrested, despite witness claims that the anti-demonstrator had injured several people.[14] Also, none of the police that involved in the incident, had been arrested either.

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.[22][23] 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.[24]

Aftermath[edit]

The Hong Kong Fire Services Department's preliminary initial records had changed from 10 to 7 injured.[19]

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[25] and were "calling on police to apologize for excessive violence".[26] 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,[27] 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.[28] 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.[29] It was also reported that the protesters had vandalized traffic lights and the exits of Mong Kok MTR station, as well as starting a fire on nearby Nathan Road.[28]

Reactions[edit]

A teen who was injured by the police, filed civil lawsuit against the police, claiming it was an assault and thus they should pay a compensation to him.[30]

Another young female and one of the seven injured in the station, say she had asthma on that day. She accused misconduct of MTR and the police by spending 3 hours to send her to the hospital. She also accused the police indiscriminately attacking innocent citizens.[31]

Critics also made sarcasm on the police, claiming they are blatantly lying.[32] During the press meeting, the police claimed they are able to distinguish innocent citizen from their arrest target. They claimed there were "undercover violent protester" that they had changed clothes to blend in, and the denial of attack people indiscriminately.[21]

Amnesty International Hong Kong called for an investigation into the police conduct after the Special Tactical Squad stormed the Prince Edward station and beat and pepper-sprayed the commuters inside.[33]

The Hong Kong Bar Association accused the police abuse 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,".[34]

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, had 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.[35] While PORI's survey, conducted in October, 48% of interviewees believe the rumour.[35][36] Critic urged the government to establish Independent Commission of Inquiry, by excising Commissions of Inquiry Ordinance, to response the situation.[35]

References[edit]

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