Fights broke out repeatedly in and around Fortress Hill and North Point on Sunday night – many involving a group of unmasked, middle-aged men who were filmed carrying folding chairs, pipes and other objects right in front of riot police.
At one point, several reporters got caught up in the violence, with some claiming to have come under attack.
Police initially intervened after the men started rowing with another group of people wearing black inside the MTR station. An RTHK reporter said a mass brawl then broke out and lasted for a few minutes before officers rushed in to separate the two groups. But both sides were undeterred, and continued shoving and yelling at each other outside on King's Road.
Some of the men were filmed using a folding chair to beat up a black-clad protester inside the MTR station as reporters yelled at them to stop.
Police then moved in again, taking away at least three people, including a young man dressed in black.
Some of the same men were later involved in more fist-fights in the area. One journalist said he was kicked in the thigh by one of the men who had confronted him and demanded that he stop filming what was happening. Apple Daily reporter Jade Chung said she was struck in the hand by a man who apparently tried to snatch her phone away from her. She suffered a minor hand injury.
Reports from the scene suggest that some of the men had also spat some kind of alcohol at journalists.
Several people were hurt in the clashes and were taken away by ambulance.
Several men were also seen brandishing choppers at journalists and passersby and pouring a tin of what appeared to be some sort of flammable liquid onto the street on Ming Yuen Western Street. Police were quickly on the scene, prompting the men to retreat into a building. After around 45 minutes, officers emerged and led several people away in a police van.
Despite the large number of police patrolling the area, sporadic fights continued breaking out in the area, with many people requiring immediate medical assistance from volunteer first-aid workers.
A longtime resident of Fortress Hill, surnamed Wong, told RTHK he was shocked at the violence.
“Before this few months I feel like Fortress Hill is quite peaceful, but now it’s very dangerous and full of thugs", he said.
He said he saw dozens of people wearing white shirts who were walking alongside police, when some of them turned on young protesters and started beating them with chairs and other objects. Wong said although police did intervene, they did not arrest the attackers.
Samuel, who has been living in North Point for 25 years, says police haven't been doing enough to stem the street violence, and accused them of going 'easy' on people in the neighbourhood who are of Fujianese descent.
"They're pretty passive", he complained.
Police later attempted to clear the area of protesters and curious onlookers, firing a barrage of tear gas at a mostly-empty street on King's Road in North Point shortly before 11pm. Only a couple of reporters and some people inside cars were caught up in the smoke. The drivers who could move quickly drove away.
Tensions were high across a wide area of Hong Kong island as scattered groups of protesters who had fanned out from earlier confrontations with police outside government headquarters in Admiralty.
In Causeway Bay, police holed up inside an MTR entrance used tear gas and pepper spray on some protesters who were aiming laser pointers at them from outside.
Police are out in force in the area, patrolling the streets and inside MTR stations.
Last updated: 2019-09-15 HKT 23:03
Brawls break out in Fortress Hill, reporters hurt
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