3rd September 2019 – (Hong Kong) At around 11pm on 31st August, Special Tactical Unit stormed into Prince Edward MTR Station to arrest violent protesters for engaging in physical scuffle earlier with some passengers. In most videos shared by media and internet, riot police were seen assaulting passengers with truncheons and pepper spraying helpless protesters. They were pursuing several protesters clad in black while many civilians were traumatised by the excessive use of force by police. Many compared the horrific ordeal to the Yuen Long attack on 21st July and police were condemned for being no different from the triads.
In response, police defended their actions and said that they used ‘reasonable force’ to manhandle the violent protesters after they received call from MTR and reports via 999. Police used their professional judgment to identify the violent protesters and they admitted that it was not easy to differentiate between the protesters and normal civilians. MTR spokesperson announced earlier at 10pm that protesters clashed with another group of passengers on the train at Platform 3 of Prince Edward Station. Staff initiated emergency evacuation procedure while waiting for police to arrive.
Let’s analyse the two videos filmed by SocRec to see if the so-called ‘innocent’ civilians were really assaulted by police officers. In Video 1 which SocRec subsequently deleted the first 20-second prequel, you can clearly see that police locked on their three targets and ran towards them before manhandling the suspects to the the ground. In Video 1 and Video 2, you can see that police avoided civilians even when one suspect purportedly ran into the train, police did not board immediately as there were civilians on board. Police might have assaulted normal civilians subsequently but we only wanted to focus specifically on the escalator incident.
The third suspect who was manhandled to the ground managed to escape and ran towards the escalator. His other accomplices immediately struck the police officers to slow them down so that he could evade arrest.
If you watch 0.10 second of Video 2, you can see some ‘civilians’ started to walk down the escalator despite the fact that the emergency evacuation procedure was activated and the escalator service was suspended. Most of these so-called civilians had their masks on. Why would normal civilians wear masks? They walked down to jam the lower part of the escalator while they allowed the suspect to pass through them to escape. The group of ‘civilians’ somehow stood there to block the police from going up. Confused, police then frantically struck a few of the ‘civilians’ as the suspect tried to hide behind them. With a few creative editing and cuts, anyone who watches this video will agree that police used excessive force because they were seemingly hitting ‘innocent’ civilians.
So the question is, are these civilians really civilians or they formed part of the protesters’ team to help the suspect escape while putting up a show simultaneously to demonstrate police brutality? Watch the two videos yourself and reach your own conclusion. Riot police might have assaulted normal civilians eventually when they commenced further arrests as the situation was chaotic and many protesters changed into civilian’s clothing to confuse them.