Eight people have announced they will sue Hong Kong’s police chief for negligence in relation to the July 21 mob attack at Yuen Long MTR station.
The group — led by pro-democracy lawmaker Lam Cheuk-ting — made the announcement at a press briefing today, which marks the six-month anniversary of the vicious attack at Yuen Long MTR station, which saw a group of men in white shirts indiscriminately attack anti-government protesters returning home from a rally on Hong Kong Island, as well as commuters, journalists, and Lam himself.
Just in: It has been half a year since the Yuen Long July 21 mob attack. Eight victims have today decided to sue the police commissioner for the police force’s negligence and their alleged collusion with local triad groups. #HongKongProtests #antiELAB pic.twitter.com/GIRedRHWSR
— Ezra Cheung (@ezracheungtoto) January 21, 2020
Lam said that over the past six months, he and his team have been collecting video footage and eyewitness accounts, and that they have enough evidence to bring a lawsuit against the police.
He added that he and other victims are planning to sue the police commissioner for an alleged failure by officers to carry out their duties on the night of the attack.
The incident, perhaps more than any other, severely rattled Hongkongers’ trust in the police force after officers took more than half an hour to respond to the violence. Police were also caught on camera appearing to ignore the brewing situation at the MTR station beforehand, and seemingly allowing suspected attackers — many of whom were later found to have triad links — to go free in the aftermath.
In the hours after the attacks, two nearby police stations even closed their doors to people attempting to file police reports.
“Our court case is not just for our compensation. We are looking for justice for the victims and for Hong Kong,” Lam said today. “We believe that it was a turning point in Hong Kong history. The police force deliberately allowed the gangsters to use weapons to attack civilians in Yuen Long indiscriminately.”
He accused the police of failing to apprehend the attackers, and said that although authorities have formally lodged charges against a handful of people in relation to the attack, his investigation found that “more than 100 gangsters were involved.”
Lam also accused senior superintendent Kong Wing-cheung — one of the main spokesman for the police force — of trying to “distort the history of the attack,” referring to comments Kong made in a TV interview in December in which he suggested the Yuen Long attack came about because “there was a group of people leading protesters to Yuen Long to cause trouble.”
The MTR will shut Yuen Long station at 3pm today to prevent people from gathering at the station to mark the anniversary, as they have in the past.
Scores of people were injured in the incident, and at least 37 people — some with links to organized crime — have been arrested for their alleged roles in attack.