It was a shocking
turn of events after weeks of
protests in Hong Kong. A group of men in white
shirts attacked demonstrators heading home after
an antigovernment march. Protesters said that officers
ignored their repeated calls for help. Under public pressure, the
police defended their actions and acknowledged
small gaps in their response. But their conduct
left many wondering why they didn’t do more. We reviewed hours of video
and spoke to a dozen witnesses to look at how officers
failed to stop the violence. Our investigation reconstructs
what happened that night. It’s Sunday, July 21. Antigovernment demonstrations
are happening on Hong Kong Island. Protests like this one
have been going on for weeks. They started in opposition to a
controversial extradition bill. But now, protester
demands are growing. Meanwhile, 18 miles
away in Yuen Long — a town near the border
with mainland China — a crowd has gathered. Most are wearing
white T-shirts and rallying in support
of the government. A prominent, pro-Beijing
lawmaker is there. Traditional villages in this
region have a long history with Hong Kong’s organized crime
societies known as triads. Experts say that
while the triads have a patriotic reputation, they’re
essentially thugs for hire and will work for whomever
pays them the most. Members of triads have
been accused of violence against antigovernment
protesters in the past and some of the people
behind the night’s violence were later identified by
police as triad members. Now, let’s go back to
what happened that night. It’s just past 10 p.m. where
the pro-government rally is taking place and things
are getting violent. Videos show at least three
individuals being beaten by men in white T-shirts. Lam Cheuk-ting, a lawmaker
who supported some antigovernment protests, says he learns about the violence and
calls the police at 10:22 p.m. Outside, at around 10:40 p.m., we see men in white walking
towards the Yuen Long train station,
where antigovernment protesters from Hong Kong Island have been
arriving on their way home. Lam Cheuk-ting warns them
of the danger outside. But the mob comes
inside the station. And they begin to
taunt the protesters. Moments later, we see
two officers leaving the scene. Police said that they had
received the first call from the train station
at 10:41 p.m., and that these officers
left to call for backup. But once they leave,
the violence escalates. [screaming] A reporter is livestreaming when
she’s attacked by the mob People run up the stairs
trying to escape. The men in white chase
them onto a train. Some men hold open
the train doors while others beat
people inside. Bystanders are caught up
in the melee. Meanwhile, others are
trying to get help at two nearby police stations. But when some arrive
at Yuen Long police station, officers are seen
closing the gates. And at another police station, officers sit inside as
people bang on the door. Police later said that
officers closed the doors for security reasons. Back at the train station, the violence continues. Finally, the train leaves. Lam Cheuk-ting is among
the injured. The violence lasts
for about 20 minutes. In our analysis, we never
see any police officers at the scene
during this period. It’s now 11:15 p.m. As some of the men
in white T-shirts run away, police do not appear to pursue
any of the perpetrators. Protesters confront police
for their lack of action for nearly half an hour. At this point, the officers
leave the station, entrance gates
close behind them. But at 12:26 a.m., the mob
in white T-shirts is back. They break through
the train station gate and start to beat
people again. Eight minutes later
this dash cam video shows men in white T-shirts
casually walking past police vehicles while
officers walk away. White-shirted men continue to
beat protesters outside. Some of the men gather
at a parking lot. In this video, we see police entering
the train station as the men in white are just outside. Police surround the area
for the next couple hours. It’s 2:35 a.m., we see two men
still holding their weapons, chatting with officers. This is important because
hours later, police officials said that they did not see
anyone holding weapons. Finally, around 4 a.m. several
of the men in white T-shirts drive away. No one was arrested overnight. At least 45 people were injured during the
attack at the Yuen Long station. Police have admitted
that they were informed about a potential attack in
Yuen Long in advance. The Hong Kong
police commissioner said the antigovernment
protests were the reason for the slow police response. The police have since arrested
12 suspects for the attacks, many of them with
triad connections. Still, protesters say officers
could have done more to prevent the violence. Almost a week
after this incident, thousands gathered in Yuen Long
to protest the attack and the police response. This time, the men
in white shirts appeared to remain
on the sidelines. And it was the police
who countered protesters with force.

When a Mob Attacked Protesters in Hong Kong, the Police Walked Away | Visual Investigations

100 thoughts on “When a Mob Attacked Protesters in Hong Kong, the Police Walked Away | Visual Investigations

  • July 30, 2019 at 11:06 pm
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    Hi! I'm Barbara, one of the producers of this piece. I've been following the protests in Hong Kong closely and wanted to give you a little insight about how we did this story. Feel free to also ask questions in the comments — I'll try to answer as many as possible!

    On Sunday, July 21, I was monitoring the protests on social media and began to see images of men in white T-shirts beating one individual. Initially, I didn't think this incident was related to the anti-government protests. But as the night went on, it became clear that it was an attack on demonstrators. My colleague Haley Willis and I collected dozens of videos that were circulating on social media, and our colleague Rebecca Lai watched hours of videos from livestreams published by activists and news organizations. Together, we were able to build a comprehensive timeline of how the events unfolded.

    More than the violence promoted by the men in white T-shirts, what really caught our attention was the action (or lack of action) by the police officers we saw on camera. As we analyzed the footage, we noted that they at no point tried to de-escalate the violence or arrest the perpetrators. Our colleagues Tiffany May and Austin Ramzy, who are based in Hong Kong, spoke with witnesses who confirmed what we saw in the footage: the police officers were aware of the situation, but still didn't act to prevent or control the violence.

    If you liked this story — and got to this point in my comment! — you may also like this investigation about the Hong Kong police force’s excessive use of force against demonstrators: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gHfWuUhrKQg.

    Thanks for watching!

    Reply
  • September 1, 2019 at 2:51 pm
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    💯% bias! why don't u show what the cause of this problem. the rioters had outnumbered police forces, the govt needed as much help as they could even from the gangsters which goes to tell u how desperated they were. Yes, it's wrong but extreme circumstances called for extreme measures. How would u feel if this was to happen in the west? would u side with these so called protestors if happened in NYC, destroying properties, disturbing way of life and beaten down innocent bystanders? You are a hypocrite!!!

    Reply
  • September 1, 2019 at 5:06 pm
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    https://youtu.be/a-FYkmF9ZZ0

    Reply
  • September 1, 2019 at 5:09 pm
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    https://youtu.be/CgItY-RbLPk

    Reply
  • September 1, 2019 at 5:34 pm
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    Police are the welfare free loaders. The real criminals the real thugs.

    Reply
  • September 1, 2019 at 5:41 pm
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    Maybe those with white shirts are some workers and business owners returning the favors to the rioters. They have been terrorized by those violent rioters that throw rocks, hard objects, ruining and blocking public properties, HK airport, business buildings, business districts, government buildings and throw petrol bombs at others with different perspectives as well as police officers.

    Reply
  • September 1, 2019 at 9:58 pm
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    i dont feel bad for them they hate the cops and then ask for their help they get what they deserved

    Reply
  • September 1, 2019 at 10:37 pm
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    Shocker! LMAO at Lam Tam. What do you expect police to do? You are part of Anti-government and you are asking Government to help you??? What do you expect? You lucky you are still alive.

    Reply
  • September 2, 2019 at 12:15 am
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    They walk away…Becca use s

    Reply
  • September 2, 2019 at 12:17 am
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    They deserve to be beaten cos the protestors before have bullied and beaten passengers and peop,e who oppose their views…why was this not reported by NY t?

    Reply
  • September 2, 2019 at 4:01 am
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    Paid to retaliate

    Reply
  • September 2, 2019 at 5:48 am
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    During riot, protector attack the police. Now protestor Wan the police to help them. It’s not fair.

    Reply
  • September 2, 2019 at 5:50 am
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    The protestor is out of hand. I support the hk police

    Reply
  • September 2, 2019 at 6:29 am
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    6:42 Some of my manpower… Yeah, it's non existent in front of the party.

    Reply
  • September 2, 2019 at 7:26 am
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    They probably were police duh. The new York times, a former newspaper.

    Reply
  • September 2, 2019 at 7:59 am
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    Crusaders on rampage.

    Reply
  • September 2, 2019 at 9:22 am
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    You demonize, attack and harrass the police and their families (including children), calling them traitors and dogs, and you expect them to help you? F off.

    Reply
  • September 2, 2019 at 9:26 am
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    Yeah you cockroaches been besieging police stations for weeks and you blame them for not opening the doors to rioters? Lol western media good job.

    Reply
  • September 2, 2019 at 9:26 am
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    They are not protestors they are rioters

    Reply
  • September 2, 2019 at 9:48 am
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    So basically just wear a white shirt…

    Reply
  • September 2, 2019 at 10:10 am
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    After the white people attacked, still the prime minister of Hong Kong not doing anything about that? Just seeing their people got beaten and blood on shirt?

    Reply
  • September 2, 2019 at 10:39 am
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    I will burn all these protesters one by one myself !!!! , the men in white shirts atleast trying to help !!!!

    Reply
  • September 2, 2019 at 10:58 am
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    Absolutely disgusting…China is a disgrace…fcuk the police cowards

    Reply
  • September 2, 2019 at 11:50 am
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    Too Much Violence = More Pressing On Goverment.
    I Want No More Violence

    Reply
  • September 2, 2019 at 11:55 am
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    Call this mob?Try that with the protesters in my country..No1 wouldve been left alive

    Reply
  • September 2, 2019 at 12:23 pm
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    Puppets

    Reply
  • September 2, 2019 at 12:38 pm
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    The people in white T-shirts are HK people arranged by the CIA to attack other Hongers so a doctored story like this is presented to the world.

    Reply
  • September 2, 2019 at 1:14 pm
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    Civil activists disperse pro-American extremists.

    Reply
  • September 2, 2019 at 2:10 pm
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    Same tricks have been used Against protesters all over the World by different governments

    Reply
  • September 2, 2019 at 2:26 pm
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    i support the policr

    Reply
  • September 2, 2019 at 2:58 pm
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    Lmao and the US leftist cry and say they are attacked when a MAGA hat walks by.😂

    Reply
  • September 2, 2019 at 3:51 pm
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    the mob are with the police

    Reply
  • September 2, 2019 at 4:29 pm
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    Imagine if guns were widely available

    Reply
  • September 3, 2019 at 3:57 am
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    nice propaganda NYT..

    go delete more twitter accounts

    Reply
  • September 3, 2019 at 11:41 am
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    china government is doing so worst

    Reply
  • September 3, 2019 at 12:06 pm
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    That can not be right… China and HK can always be trusted. The HK triad ganster are not being paid by Chinese government. Oh no sir they are not…

    Reply
  • September 3, 2019 at 12:45 pm
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    打的好,支持元朗居民以暴制暴

    Reply
  • September 3, 2019 at 1:22 pm
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    打的好,黑衣汉奸有本事被打时别报警,记得你们这班汉奸打警察可从不手软的呦。

    Reply
  • September 3, 2019 at 1:32 pm
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    垃圾新闻。记着请不要买埋没自己的良心。这段视频被编辑过了很多。

    Reply
  • September 3, 2019 at 2:01 pm
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    what the?! HK police? No pride, no care

    Reply
  • September 3, 2019 at 2:13 pm
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    Hong Kong need more these white shirts to help police safeguard Hong Kong.

    Reply
  • September 3, 2019 at 2:31 pm
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    pray for protesters, love from indonesia🇮🇩🇭🇰❤️

    Reply
  • September 3, 2019 at 3:48 pm
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    The world is not only watching they are mainly with the protestors how can a place were you are told what to do how to dress how to speak and who you can speak to ever be something that people would want… I understand their fight for their freedoms and good on them for standing up to the authorities.

    Reply
  • September 3, 2019 at 4:04 pm
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    Pathetic

    Reply
  • September 3, 2019 at 4:57 pm
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    Hong Kong government playing dirty- they have full support of the CCP.

    Reply
  • September 4, 2019 at 12:40 am
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    I think they are paid by doing this protest

    Reply
  • September 4, 2019 at 1:10 am
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    Glad we have the 2A

    Reply
  • September 4, 2019 at 3:39 am
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    Gansterism of the evil forced organs harvesters murderers to the millions China Communist Party Dictatorship!

    Reply
  • September 4, 2019 at 6:44 am
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    destroy those protesters they are idiots

    Reply
  • September 4, 2019 at 8:48 am
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    People of the free world unite and fight against the evil communist regimes. They are the cancer of humanity. Death to the communist regimes. Let us expose their evil and their crimes and bring them down. Destroy the mainland communists and bring forth a free and democratic China….then Taiwan and Mainland can truly be one China.

    Reply
  • September 4, 2019 at 8:59 am
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    Beijing's version of the Little Green Men.

    Reply
  • September 4, 2019 at 2:23 pm
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    Lets give them guns🤪

    Reply
  • September 4, 2019 at 6:01 pm
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    I’m sorry this might be the dumbest question but why are they protesting?

    Reply
  • September 5, 2019 at 12:28 am
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    the men in white shirts were definitely were paid a large sum of cash by Chinese officials

    Reply
  • September 5, 2019 at 1:34 am
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    Those are the worst cops of all time! The triads were blood thirsty thugs and the cops let the protesters and civilians vulnerable! And only 12 triads have been arrested?! What kind of police training do they teach in China? If this happened in Russia, the Russian Oman would’ve brutally beaten up those thugs!

    Reply
  • September 5, 2019 at 7:23 am
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    I want the mob to attack the protestors cuz the protestors are f**king annoying.

    Reply
  • September 5, 2019 at 7:35 am
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    Dictatorship China is trying to make fried chicken with gold chicken. It means making Common Law's Hong Kong a part of Shenzhen and making it a meaningless Part of China.

    Reply
  • September 5, 2019 at 10:06 am
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    I am really upset after seeing the video. It honestly hurts. Soo many people are getting injured each day and what is the govenment even doing? Its a good thing that hong kong people are fighting towards democracy. If not now then when? They wont get another opportunity to cut away their ties with China. China you cant force your ideologies on people. They are not puppets. Stop being greddy. Just let go of hong kong already.

    Reply
  • September 5, 2019 at 11:37 am
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    Communism btw

    Reply
  • September 5, 2019 at 3:59 pm
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    what's the problem? when US and Taiwan are paying these protesters to using violence against normal HK citizen. The communist are paying triads to using violence against them, fair game. And bty the way you are living under a communist rof you may aswell just follow the rule, if you dont like it, move to another country. You already knew in a country that's been controlled by the communist you have no right, why play against them? the only thing that could happen is getting you self hurt.

    Reply
  • September 5, 2019 at 7:23 pm
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    Good job white shirt

    Reply
  • September 6, 2019 at 12:51 am
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    Hope the triad kills all the protesters

    Reply
  • September 6, 2019 at 7:42 am
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    Maybe those white dressed thugs are government officials in civilian dress to stop the protesters

    Reply
  • September 6, 2019 at 8:29 am
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    df someone bullies your family you will fight back if another group help you fight the guy who attacks your family, what will do you. I belie NY news staff will protect the attacker. real Noble. while your video is pro-protester, you can search youtube there are many videos about protester/mobs attack police, damaging public properties. come on be fair, not just so biased.

    Reply
  • September 6, 2019 at 3:05 pm
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    Those protesters attack the police and now wish to get help from the police? What a wishful dream.

    Reply
  • September 6, 2019 at 7:37 pm
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    Support HKPD. The others are mumless.

    Reply
  • September 6, 2019 at 7:58 pm
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    It sounds funny that protestor blames the police didn’t stop the mob for being violent in the meantime the protesters are violent.

    Reply
  • September 6, 2019 at 8:13 pm
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    The 2014 revolution in Ukraine won under this flag. This flag is afraid of all the communists of Russia and Europe. Raise this flag and let the communists fear.
    https://sectorpravdy.com/images/agitacia/pravui_sector.jpg
    https://i.pinimg.com/564x/00/81/b6/0081b60daa290442260ed5031db8c833.jpg

    Reply
  • September 7, 2019 at 12:47 am
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    They are not mobs, they actually tried to protect their home. The blac shirts is mobs. Shame on you New York Times

    Reply
  • September 7, 2019 at 5:12 am
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    hong kong no quiere ser comunista y privarse de sus libertades quieren un modelo como el de occidente por eso quieren independizarse de china comunista

    Reply
  • September 7, 2019 at 6:48 am
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    What thos so called protestors did to the public can justify thier suffering from the white shirt hero. Blood for blood, eye for eye, what u did, somebody is watching, it is not wise to believe biased media especially those like to show u some scens they intentionaly want u to see

    Reply
  • September 7, 2019 at 7:50 am
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    I support neither sides. But for anything misunderstandings it's very easy to label blames on eachother.. Police are also human they can be perfect in all protest managements when the protesters aren't gentle as well…

    Reply
  • September 7, 2019 at 1:23 pm
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    Hong Kong is part of multi-international community hub in Asia for 100years. Is that mean 3rd – 4th generation of foreigners expat have to share the same fate as Hong Kong people in 20 years time under the Chinese Communist rule?

    Reply
  • September 7, 2019 at 3:38 pm
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    In part, due to the heavy handed and indiscriminate incidents, where the general public was physically targeted by authorities, the problem now is that most of the public appear to hate the police. To a civilized democracy that represents an extremely serious affront. The police, riot police, gangsters, ring ins from the mainland or whoever they are, most of the HK public now seem to despise them. They've near completely lost the confidence of the HK public masses. Approx 8 million people. That's why the more radical protesters are getting away with being more extreme. i.e. because the majority of the public are willing to accept that for now at least. The public are mindful of the extradition Bill and 2047 and the future of the HK youth who see themselves as democratic westerners aligned to the British rule of law, unlike the mainlanders. For them it's a bitter pill to have to deal with going forward. The government is taking a confrontational approach to what are many young people and we know that young people have a lot more bravado, so the psychology of dealing with them needs to be different. They can send in the Chinese military police and PLA and HK will be all but finished and money will poor out of HK like there's no tomorrow and that will have a chain reaction around the world, to China's disadvantage in the end. This is why this is an extremely sensitive situation. The authorities might be able to win the battle, but if HK collapses, they all loose and that could potentially bring down both governments. That would a blip on the world financial scale, however be a serious concern for HK and the authorities. i.e. it could signify a potential regime internal revolt and potentially even eventual collapse.

    Reply
  • September 7, 2019 at 4:55 pm
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    JGDUXHDSIGTENLFI

    Reply
  • September 7, 2019 at 5:23 pm
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    The HK police is terrible. The are completely corrupt. This video and many, many videos of police brutality proves it.

    Reply
  • September 8, 2019 at 3:01 am
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    Hong Kong why? why?? I loved ur country so much.. and just heart broken watching it get destroyed

    Reply
  • September 8, 2019 at 4:46 am
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    those white shirts are not mob, they are the ordinary residents whose living are baddly afeccted by those stupid rioters. They just orgnised themself to vent……

    Reply
  • September 8, 2019 at 5:43 am
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    The police did not just ignore calls for help. Evidence shows that a pro China legislator named Ho Kwan Yiu had hired the triad gangs and the police had colluded with them to deliberately turn a blind eye! Three waves were launched by these white-shirted triad gangsters against protesters returning from rallies and whoever was in the Yuen Long subway station. After public outrage, 27 gangsters were arrested with only two charged with common assault and the rest released or charged with illegal assembly. This despite on-site CCTV and witness videos that can clearly identify many of the gangsters! The CCTV includes footage showing the legislator Ho meeting up with the gangsters and thanking them for a job well done after the attacks! Yet Ho has never been questioned by HK authorities!

    Reply
  • September 8, 2019 at 1:52 pm
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    F**ing communists

    Reply
  • September 8, 2019 at 2:10 pm
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    “Who was told what to do by the man.
    Who was broken by trained personnel.”

    Reply
  • September 8, 2019 at 2:45 pm
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    the hong kong "protesters" are a mix of anarchists and wannabe Americans.

    Reply
  • September 8, 2019 at 5:36 pm
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    hk ppl who protest : throws and launches rocks and weapons causing vv big riots in hong kong causing vandalism that prob costed alot to repair
    also hk ppl : why the police nvr defend us when ppl attack us
    hk police : why should we protect u when u want to cause us so much trouble

    Reply
  • September 8, 2019 at 5:42 pm
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    People of Hong Kong you need to make or get shanks knives to defend yourselves.

    Reply
  • September 8, 2019 at 7:14 pm
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    Just goes to show who the cowards are and it most definitely ain't the protesters.

    Reply
  • September 8, 2019 at 7:18 pm
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    Half the police are probably Triad members themselves. They wear white shirts so police don't touch them. Everyone should wear white shirts and carry bamboo sticks.

    Reply
  • September 8, 2019 at 10:40 pm
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    China wants to get control of the anti-government protests in Hong Kong and since they can't really order the HK government to do what they want (stop protests through any means necessary) for political reasons, they pay mainland affilaited Triads to do the dirty work of intimidating and puting down the protesters. The HK police were ordered by high level government officials not to interfere for (once again) political reasons relating to China.

    Reply
  • September 8, 2019 at 11:31 pm
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    I would love to join the fight! 😁

    Reply
  • September 9, 2019 at 2:32 am
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    Well , those protesters are the ones condemning their police even before this incident took place. That isn't fair too isn't it?

    They even used laser pointers against the police didn't they?

    Reply
  • September 9, 2019 at 5:24 am
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    what a baised news

    Reply
  • September 9, 2019 at 4:51 pm
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    the protesters are not harmful. they do not harm any living being for no apparent reason. But these anti-protesters are. They are supposedly siding with the government but hurting people who did not harm you directly is wrong. Stop calling the protesters toxic. These people in white t-shirts are the ones who are toxic.
    Dare fight me in the comments…

    Reply
  • September 9, 2019 at 10:55 pm
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    American lies… NYT Has always been the controlled opposition

    Reply
  • September 9, 2019 at 11:01 pm
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    I support Xi Jinping. This is American backed media’s attempt to discredit China.

    Reply
  • September 10, 2019 at 12:44 am
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    Just like the triads have the backing of the government, so does antifa have the backing of the government, the police forces r not for the common people anymore.

    Reply
  • September 10, 2019 at 2:51 pm
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    Mob? you mean those suckers with Black T-shirts? yes.they are .they stop the train so the ppl cant go to work. they attack the police with knife, they burn shops . yes those suckers are MOB

    Reply
  • September 10, 2019 at 3:20 pm
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    thats the real fascist communsim ….

    Reply
  • September 10, 2019 at 4:11 pm
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    Freedom governor of HK flips bottle and crowd go crazy. The peoples hero !!! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XF3yu9etXeA

    Reply
  • September 10, 2019 at 5:34 pm
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    Hi Barbara ,in the US police shoot a lot of afro amis in the back and just walk away!!!!!!!way dont you reports about it?????????

    Reply
  • September 11, 2019 at 5:46 am
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    It could be that the police don't like the protesters any more that the attackers do?

    Reply
  • September 11, 2019 at 9:14 am
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    Hong Kong is 🇨🇳

    Reply

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