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Wednesday, July 24, 2019, 01:56
Yuen Long residents urge police to increase manpower
By Kathy Zhang and Chen Zimo
Wednesday, July 24, 2019, 01:56 By Kathy Zhang and Chen Zimo

Members of an anti-corruption and anti-independence group rally on Wednesday to support the police for fulfilling their duties during the recent protests in Hong Kong. (PHOTO PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY)

Shocked by indiscriminate attacks on passengers by masked men in white shirts at the Yuen Long MTR station on Sunday night, residents in that west New Territories town petitioned the police for an increase in manpower to prevent such violence from happening again.

In the Sunday attack, at least 45 people, mostly passengers on the train, were injured. The incident, condemned by the government, the police and civic leaders, raised concerns about public safety especially in Yuen Long and some other towns along the MTR line. 

ALSO READ: Beijing says no links between HK violence and freedom of speech

The trauma was so intense that some schools and social service centers found it prudent to cancel all activities on Monday or made special arrangements to enhance security. 

Ng said some parents called the school to express their anxieties about the highly tense situation in the territory and concerns about their children’s safety

Worried about students’ safety during the summer holiday, Ng Yung-fai, the principal of Heung To Middle School in nearby Tin Shui Wai, issued a notice on Tuesday to all parents reminding them to pay more attention to students’ emotional status and keep a close watch of their whereabouts. 

Ng said some parents called the school to express their anxieties about the highly tense situation in the territory and concerns about their children’s safety.

According to Ng, the Yuen Long District Secondary School Heads Association on Monday related their concerns to the police district commander of Yuen Long, asking the police to step up patrol in the densely-populated areas in the district. The association also urged police to quickly bring the offenders in the MTR station attacks to justice. 

Ng also warned parents and students should stay away from the streets because of the potential mass demonstrations in Yuen Long this weekend.

Responding to a China Daily inquiry, Hong Kong police said they were processing an application for a public event in Yuen Long this Saturday.

Gripped by fear, few people in Yuen Long ventured out into the streets after dark on Monday. Most of the shops in town closed earlier to allow their employees to go home while there was still light. It was like a curfew, said a 30-year-old resident of Yuen Long surnamed Lau. He requested not to use his full name.

Lau, who said he has yet to recover from the trauma of that “scary” Sunday night attack, told China Daily many people are still worried about their own safety and do not dare wear black or white clothes in the streets. 

A mother of a three-year-old child complained that she is suffering from serious mental pressure as she searches frantically for any information of what is happening so she can make plans to protect her family and relatives from harm. 

READ MORE: HK police arrest 6 over Yuen Long attacks

She said she forbids her domestic helper to take her son near the MTR station out of fear there would be another attack.

“I hope the police can make the city safe again,” the mother said.

Earlier, the police strongly condemned the violence on Sunday night and pledged to make the best efforts to arrest the culprits. Up to Tuesday evening, the police have arrested 11 people in relation to the Yuen Long attacks.

Contact the writers at kathyzhang@chinadailyhk.com

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