Hong Kong extradition law: Firefighters, Immigration, Correctional Services and Customs departments express concern over police response to Yuen Long

Hong Kong extradition law: Firefighters, Immigration, Correctional Services and Customs departments express concern over police response to Yuen Long

In open letters published online, government workers reveal their dismay over how authorities handled the situation

white_shirts_yuen_long.jpg

A mob of men in white T-shirts stand on the streets of Yuen Long. Men in white T-shirts earlier attacked black-clad protesters and passengers indiscriminately at Yuen Long MTR Station.
Photo: Winson Wong/SCMP

Some members of Hong Kong’s disciplined services have published open letters online over the past two days to express concern over the police’s handling of the attacks against passengers and journalists in Yuen Long. 

On Sunday night, a mob wearing white T-shirts stormed Yuen Long MTR station and attacked members of the public with sticks and iron rods, injuring at least 45 people.

Following attacks in Yuen Long, protesters disrupt services at Admiralty MTR

“The process lasted for almost an hour and, surprisingly, no police turned up at all … Many citizens [eventually] gave up waiting for the police and directly called the Fire Station in the district to help civilians besieged by the mob,” read the letter written by the firefighters and ambulance officers from the Fire Services Department.

“Although we arrived at the scene in the hopes of rescuing the trapped citizens, we have not received the training required to subdue rioters nor do we have the equipment required. Moreover, the law does not grant us the same amount of legal force as it does the [police] force.

Media groups urge Hong Kong police to protect citizens

“Therefore, the police’s late arrival prevented the firefighters and ambulance officers from assisting the injured, as well as putting our colleagues’ personal safety at risk.”

In separate open letters, members of the Immigration Department and Correctional Services Department said they were “extremely distressed” by the violent attacks in Yuen Long. 

In another letter, a Customs and Excise Department officer condemned the police for shooting protesters in the head using rubber bullets on the same evening, calling it an “excessive use of force”.

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