Commuters seethe after three stations shut down

Top News | Charlotte Luo 26 Aug 2019

Riot police yesterday helped close one of three MTR stations ahead of an approved rally in Tsuen Wan.

Citing security concerns, MTR Corp suspended service for Tsuen Wan, Kwai Fong and Tsuen Wan West stations ahead of the march. The announcement was made two hours before the 1.30pm suspension, angering some passengers.

A resident who lives near the Tsuen Wan Station, Nicole Lam, 26, told The Standard that she had planned to take in an evening movie in Kwai Fong, three stops away.

"MTR's action is extremely appalling and unacceptable. The residents of Tsuen Wan and Kwai Ching districts account for more than 10 percent of the total population in Hong Kong, and the suspension of the three stations in the districts is very disturbing to us residents," Lam said.

People had to use alternative transport, resulting in long queues and longer traveling time, she said.

Scuffles broke out between riot police and passengers who refused to leave the station in Kwai Fong.

Tsuen Wan district councillor Roy Tam Hoi-pong argued with MTR staff while his assistant was filming videos. Tam later said his assistant was beaten inside Kwai Fong station.

A video on his Facebook page showed five or six officers grabbing a man and pressing him to the ground.

After calling an ambulance, Tam lost contact with his assistant.

Democratic Party lawmaker Andrew Wan Siu-kin condemned the rail operator, saying tens of thousands of people, not just nearby residents, were affected.

As riot police entered Luen Yan Street and Yeung Uk Road, people who participated in the legal rally could not leave unless they passed the police station, creating dilemma and conflict, Wan said.

Anthony Cheung Bing-leung, former secretary for transport and housing, said the rail operator had never suspended services purely because of protests. On Saturday, MTRC suspended service between Choi Hung and Tiu Keng Leng stations from noon before an approved march kicked off at 1.30pm.

The day before, MTRC said it had obtained an interim injunction "to restrain persons from unlawfully and willfully obstructing or interfering with the proper use of the stations and trains."

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