White terror grips Yuen LongTop News | Stella Wong 23 Jul 2019
Yuen Long has become a ghost town overnight with empty streets and malls, after a mob of more than 100 thugs in white T-shirts beat citizens at Yuen Long MTR Station with wooden sticks and metal rods late on Sunday.
The attackers targeted protesters in black returning home from the anti-fugitive protest on Hong Kong Island, leaving at least 45 protesters and passengers injured. One is in critical condition and three in serious condition.
The alleged triad members beat people up inside the station, on platforms and inside a train during the hour-long attack.
Police arrested five men yesterday for illegal assembly. One is a renovation worker, 50, who lives in Pat Heung; another is an unemployed man, also aged 50, who lives at Tai Tong in Yuen Long.
One of the arrested suspects has a triad background.
But fear has already spread in Tuen Mun, Tin Shui Wai and Tsuen Wan, as many shops were closed yesterday amid rumors online that there would be more violence yesterday.
All shops in YOHO Mall, which connects to Yuen Long Station, closed early in the afternoon yesterday.
Shop owners said they did not receive any notice from developer Sun Hung Kai Properties, but they decided on their own not to operate after reading reports about potential violence around noon.
An employee at a Japanese restaurant in the mall, who was pulling the roll-up gate down at 3pm, said: "We have to consider the personal safety of employees, right?"
A 50-year-old writer from England and a resident of the district said he had never seen anything like this.
"This is the end of Yuen Long," he said.
"Previously, people would live in Yuen Long because it's quiet and far from the troubles in town. Now the trouble has come to Yuen Long."
Another couple rushing to get home said everyone was nervous.
Two mainland tourists from Shenzhen named Zhao were shocked to see no shops open in the mall.
"But I still feel safe here as I believe the government will protect the security of the city," one of the sisters said.
Outside the mall, more than 80 percent of the shops on Castle Peak Road were also closed yesterday afternoon.
A health food chainstore on Fau Tsoi Street was an exception, but a consultant, Chan, hit out at the company for not closing shop and asking staff to take leave if they left early.
"The company should prioritize employees' safety," said Chan, 32.
Tsang, a manager at Fulum Palace on Fung Kam Street, said there were 50 percent fewer customers having lunch at the restaurant yesterday.
Online rumors warned triads would mobilize more manpower after a Yuen Long triad leader fainted when he was going after a citizen on Sunday. Fake news circulated that he died. Some residents of YOHO Town said they were too worried to go back home at night, instead saying they would stay in a hotel or at friends' homes overnight.
One also said that residents are avoiding dressing in black, as they may become the targets of gangsters.
Many companies let employees who live in the districts go home earlier last night. They included Shiseido, which closed all stores in Tuen Mun and Yuen Long at 2pm.
Some schools in the district also cancelled afternoon activities yesterday, including the Hong Kong Management Association K S Lo College and Cumberland Presbyterian Church Yao Dao Secondary School.
The Yuen Long District Secondary School Heads Association demanded that police ensure the safety of students travelling to schools and home at a meeting yesterday.
Meanwhile, netizens on online forum Lihkg said a protest will be held in Yuen Long on Saturday to condemn the white-shirt men attacking citizens and police firing tear gas and rubber bullets at protesters in Sheung Wan on Sunday night.
Fifteen people remain in Tuen Mun Hospital following the Yuen Long attack.
Nine people were sent to hospital after the Sheung Wan clashes with police. One man remained in Queen Mary Hospital in stable condition at 5pm yesterday.