Hong Kong Police Criticized Over Failure to Protect Protesters From Suspected Gang Members

Men in white T-shirts and carrying poles are seen in Yuen Long after attacking anti-extradition bill demonstrators at a train station in Hong Kong, China, July 22, 2019. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Hong Kong police faced criticism on Monday for an apparent failure to protect anti-government protesters and passersby from attack by what opposition politicians suspected were gang members at a train station on the weekend.

The attack on Sunday came during a night of escalating violence that opened new fronts in Hong Kong’s widening political crisis over an extradition bill, that could see people sent to China for trial.

Protesters had earlier on Sunday surrounded China’s main representative office in the city and defaced walls and signs and clashed with police.

The city’s Beijing-backed leader, Carrie Lam, condemned the attack on China’s main office in the city, the Central Government Liaison Office, saying it was a “challenge” to national sovereignty.

She condemned violent behavior of any kind and said she had been shocked by the clashes at the station, adding police would investigate fully.