Police appear to have fired tear-gas directly into the Kwai Fong MTR station on Sunday night as they rushed to confront anti-government demonstrators who had gathered there to target the nearby Kwai Chung police station.
An opaque, white gas appeared to saturate the ground floor of the station, as dozens of protesters gathered inside. At least one demonstrator had set off a fire extinguisher and had pointed it towards the officers.
Video footage from the scene showed a train stopped at a platform, with many people – both protesters and ordinary passengers – still inside. One person dressed in protest gear was seen lying on the floor with blood running from his nose.
The train later left the station.
At one point, scores of riot police surrounded multiple entrances to the station, only to pull back a short time later.
After police left, hundreds of people briefly flooded back into the station, with many covering their mouths with their hands. But a short time later, the station was left empty again, and staff were pulling the shutters down.
Many protesters subsequently moved to the Metroplaza mall adjacent to the station. Many shops there immediately pulled down their shutters.
An RTHK reporter at the scene said police first started firing tear gas outside the station, before apparently firing directly into it.
Chaotic scenes ensued, with fire extinguishers and unravelled fire hoses left lying on the ground.
The MTR Corporation later released a statement saying it understands that police had fired rubber bullets inside the station, without mentioning anything about tear gas.
A spokesman said the staff had initiated an evacuation after seeing smoke inside the station, which was then closed after trains had taken all remaining passengers away.
The firm said it is highly concerned, and deeply regrets what happened at Kwai Fong station, and condemned” all violent acts.” The spokesman stressed that the safety of passengers and staff is their top priority.
Before the chaos, many protesters had gathered outside the Kwai Chung Police Station – with many having gone there after surrounding the police station in Tsim Sha Tsui.
Elsewhere, scattered groups of protesters caused traffic disruptions by setting up makeshift barricades at multiple roads. Some attempted to block Waterloo Road in Kowloon Tong, while others targeted Lai Chi Kok Road in Mei Foo.
Last updated: 2019-08-12 HKT 01:18