Asia-Pacific

Hong Kong residents clash with police in subway station

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A brief lull in tensions between police and protesters in Hong Kong has ended after thousands held an anti-government demonstration at a subway station.

Thousands of Hong Kong residents have held a sometimes scrappy anti-government protest at a suburban subway station that was attacked by a mob last month, angry that nobody has yet been prosecuted for the violence.

Some masked protesters clashed with police, spraying fire extinguishers from the inside of Yuen Long station as others smeared the floor with cooking oil, beer and detergent to stop the police advancing.

Protestors stand off against riot police during a protest at the Yuen Long MTR station
Protestors stand off against riot police during a protest at the Yuen Long MTR station
Getty Images AsiaPac

Some blocked station exits with bins, booths and other station furniture as others sealed roads outside the station, aiming green laser beams at the lines of shield-bearing officers. Others threw empty fire extinguishers at police lines.

Many inside the station sat quietly.

Wednesday's unrest was the latest in a series of demonstrations since June against a perceived erosion of freedoms in the former British colony that returned to Chinese rule in 1997.

It also marked a return to aggression after a brief lull in tensions following a huge peaceful march on Sunday.

But the stand-off stopped short of full pitched battles, with police refraining from using tear gas or attempting to storm protester lines.

It is one month since the attack at Yuen Long MTR.
It is one month since the attack at Yuen Long MTR.
Getty Images AsiaPac

Only one rock was seen hitting a police shield and most protesters were headed home before midnight.

The protest marked the night of 21 July, when more than 100 white-shirted men stormed the Yuen Long station hours after protesters had marched through central Hong Kong and defaced China's Liaison Office - the main symbol of Beijing's authority.

Using pipes and clubs, the men attacked black-clad protesters returning from Hong Kong island as well as passers-by and journalists, wounding 45 people.

Democratic Party legislator Lam Cheuk-ting, wounded in the attack by suspected triad gangsters, said he believed the protesters wanted a peaceful night on Wednesday but he could not rule out further violence - from gangsters or the police.

"It is impossible to predict ... it is deeply disappointing that all these weeks later we still don't have an independent inquiry into those events," he said.

Anger erupted in June over a now-suspended bill that would allow criminal suspects in Hong Kong to be extradited to mainland China for trial. Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said again on Tuesday the legislation was dead.

Likely worsening already strained ties between Beijing and London, a Chinese national working at Britain's Hong Kong consulate has been detained in China's border city of Shenzhen for violating the law.

Some Hong Kong companies have been dragged into controversy amid the protests.

Pilots and cabin crew at Cathay Pacific Airways described a "white terror" of political denunciations, sackings and phone searches by Chinese aviation officials.

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