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Alleged police-triad collusion on July 21 – a complete blow to HK police's reputation

2020/7/21 — 19:05

資料圖片:2019年7月22日凌晨,元朗西鐵站附近南邊圍村(RTHK片段截圖)

資料圖片:2019年7月22日凌晨,元朗西鐵站附近南邊圍村(RTHK片段截圖)

On July 21 last year, a large number of white-clad men attacked citizens and journalists. On the night, police officers was seen passing by the places in Yuen Long where the white-clad men gathered but the police did not take any action. Two uniformed officers were spotted walking away from Yuen Long MTR Station after they arrived at the scene. Meanwhile, Tin Shui Wai Police Station and Yuen Long Police Station closed their doors. Many called the police by dialing 999 but most calls were not picked up.

The July 21 attack in Yuen Long became the last straw that breaks the camel’s back. In a poll conducted by the Hong Kong Public Opinion Research Institute (PORI) in early August last year, people’s satisfaction rating towards the police force plunged to 39.4, the lowest figure ever since records began in 2012. Such figure is far lower than 61.0, which was registered in early June last year before the anti-extradition bill movement broke out in the city. In another poll carried out by the PORI in November last year, 40 percent of the respondents gave the police force zero marks.

The police said last week that 37 people have been arrested in connected with the case, with seven of them charged with rioting and conspiring with an intent to wound, while other suspects connected with the case remain wanted, and the force did not rule out that more people would be arrested.

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The police force also said it has been maintaining close communication with the Department of Justice, pledging to conduct a thorough investigation to the end. But according to past information, the police in November last year revealed 37 people had been arrested in connected with the case; in last December the police said seven of them were prosecuted. Those figures have not been updated so far. 

The alleged police-triad collusion in the Yuen Long attack on July 21 last year dents completely the reputation of the police force.

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Here is a timeline of what the police did on the night of July 21 last year.

Around 7:30pm: White-clad men gathered at Fung Yau Street North in Yuen Long, with some allegedly holding rattan sticks. Two plainclothes police officers walked to and fro near the scene but did not go forward to check what was happening there or prevent what would likely to happen.

7:00pm – 9:45pm: The police sent its Criminal Response Team to the scene for five times but did not take any action.

9:50pm: Before and after the white-clad men beat up some citizens using rattan sticks at Fung Yau North Street, a police vehicle passed by the scene three times. But no police officer descended from the car to check to see what happened.

10:40pm: A mob of white-clad men attacked citizens and journalists at the Yuen Long MTR Station. Two uniformed officers arrived at the scene but were spotted walking away from the station.

11:14pm: The white-clad men began leaving the Yuen Long MTR Station, before a group of police officers arrived at the scene. Some white-clad men ran past the officers but were not stopped by the police.

11:20pm: Some people who wanted to file a police report gathered outside the Tin Shui Wai Police Station and the Yuen Police Station before the two police stations closed their doors. The 999 emergency response centre received 24,000 calls in three hours, only 1,100 of the calls picked up.

12:00am: When questioned why the police arrived late at the scene, Pat Heung Division Police Commander Li Hon-man sarcastically replied that he did not look at his watch. Li told reporters that their questioning “will not scare [him]."

1:00am: In Nam Pin Wai, two riot police officers were seen patting the shoulder of a man dressed in white and consoling each other.

3:25am: Police entered the Nam Pin Wai village, found and seized more than 160 items such as iron pipes and wooden sticks. Yau Nai-keung, then assistant police commander of Crime Yuen Long, said his colleagues did not see anyone carrying weapons.

 

Sources:
7.21 警黑疑勾結 香港警隊聲譽從此徹底破產 / 《立場新聞》Facebook 專頁
Media reports, Report by the Independent Police Complaints Council

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