Yuen Long MTR Station closes, 5 hours before rally - RTHK
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Yuen Long MTR Station closes, 5 hours before rally

2019-10-21 HKT 14:35
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  • Yuen Long MTR Station closes, 5 hours before rally
  • This passenger was turned away after missing the 2pm deadline. Photo: RTHK
    This passenger was turned away after missing the 2pm deadline. Photo: RTHK
Riot police took over Yuen Long MTR Station on Monday afternoon as the public were barred from the building, several hours before the start of a planned rally to mark a brutal gang attack on passengers three months previously.

MTR officials closed the station at 2pm, even though a gathering there to remember the July 21 atrocity was not expected to start until 7pm.

Shops also closed early and around a dozen riot officers showed up ahead of the shutdown.

Some residents expressed support for the move, with one woman saying she would have been scared to be at the station in any case if a demonstration is taking place.

An elderly man told RTHK that the closure was understandable, even if it had caught him unawares. "There’s nothing I can do. I wanted to go to Mong Kok but I can’t now. What else can I do? I can only go home," he said.

"It’s a pity. If someone’s causing trouble, it’s understandable that the MTR station is closing the shutters. It’s for the sake of everyone’s safety," he added.

But others condemned the move, saying it would cause a lot of difficulties for people trying to return home after work.

A retired Yuen Long resident surnamed Chan said he didn’t understand why the station had to close so many hours in advance of the rally.

"I think it's totally unreasonable and it causes a lot of inconvenience to us ... I'm very unhappy," Chan said.

He added that it was unnecessary for police officers to guard the station, and he believed they were only there to try to "threaten people".

At least 45 people were put in hospital by the July 21 attack, when scores of men wearing white T-shirts rampaged through the station, indiscriminately hitting passengers with sticks and poles.

The police later admitted that it took them almost 40 minutes to send officers into the station that night to help those being assaulted, despite the 999 service being swamped with frantic calls for assistance.

When a rally over the attack was held last month, MTR officials closed the station down four hours ahead of time, prompting participants to gather in the adjacent Yoho Mall instead.