The heads of 11 local tertiary institutions issued a joint statement on Wednesday asking students not to participate in protests planned in Yuen Long on Saturday.
This came after a mob of men in white T-shirts with sticks and metal rods indiscriminately attacked citizens and anti-extradition bill protesters at Yuen Long MTR station and its adjacent shopping centre Yoho Mall last Sunday night, leaving at least 45 people injured.
“As the situation is still evolving and can become extremely volatile and dangerous, we want to make the strongest plea to you to stay away for your personal safety. Please take good care of yourselves,” the statement read.
The joint message was from the institution presidents of eight UGC-funded universities,The Open University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong Shue Yan University and The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts.
They added feeling “very shocked and deeply saddened by the incidents in Hong Kong last weekend”, and advised students to contact Student Affair Offices if they need assistance.
A march has been planned in Yuen Long this Saturday to protest against the violent assault last Sunday. As of Thursday at 1pm, the organiser, Yuen Long resident Chung Kin-ping, was still awaiting a letter of no objection from the force.
According to South China Morning Post, a police insider revealed that the police are unlikely to grant the protest permit due to concerns for public safety.
“In light of the bloody clashes on Sunday night and especially over the past few weeks since June 12, we attach great importance to public safety while considering whether to approve a protest in Yuen Long,” the police insider said.
“But we are likely to reject the application for a letter of no objection for Saturday’s rally. If we indeed come to such a conclusion, the organiser can still appeal the decision.”
Meanwhile, Yoho Mall’s owner and Hong Kong’s largest property developer Sun Hung Kai Properties is also hiring extra security guards, training its staff and setting up “safe spaces” in its shopping malls ahead of the Saturday protests in Yuen Long.