The police say 40 people were arrested inside Prince Edward MTR station, after pitched battles with protesters descended into the underground.
The railway operator said it called in the police after noticing passengers clashing on one of the trains at the station.
Senior Superintendent Yolanda Yu from the force’s public relations branch told a media briefing that officers had also seen on television news coverage that protesters were changing their clothes within the station to blend in with passengers.
She said the police received reports of protesters getting into arguments and fighting with several older passengers, and threw umbrellas and water bottles at them. At one point, they even used a fire extinguisher within the carriage.
She said the 40 people had been arrested on suspicion of obstructing police officers, unlawful assembly and criminal damage.
Television footage showed officers from the police’s elite ‘raptor’ unit chasing protesters through the station, clubbing and pepper spraying some people before making a series of arrests.
Some officers also entered a train carriage and used batons and pepper spray on those inside, with some passengers trying to protect themselves with umbrellas.
Asked how officers could differentiate between protesters and passengers, Yu said they were professional enough to judge who were protesters in plain clothes and who were passengers.
She said officers had used appropriate force during the operation, because the protesters were trying to attack officers with umbrellas and long objects, and they also struggled during the arrests.
The police did not reveal how many were injured during their operation in the station.
Forty arrested inside MTR's Prince Edward station
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