(Bloomberg) -- As the protest in Hong Kong entered its sixth week, the spotlight turned to Yuen Long, a suburb that’s closer to Shenzhen along the mainland Chinese border than the city’s central area.
Fights broke out in the Yuen Long metro station miles away from the main protests after groups of men in white shirts attacked passengers with sticks and umbrellas. They targeted people dressed in black, the preferred color of demonstrators.
Lam Cheuk-ting, a Democratic Party lawmaker, was among those injured. He posted pictures of a cut on his lower lip on his Facebook page, and spoke to reporters at Tuen Mun Hospital early Monday morning wearing bandages on his cheek and right arm, which he said was hurt while blocking multiple hits by wooden sticks wielded by attackers.
Lam said he was targeted when as many as 30 attackers in white shirts assaulted passengers on the train. He called the situation “extremely serious” and he’s concerned the aggressors -- some in their 20s and others as old as their 60s -- may be tied to triad gangs. They also ignored his warning that the police were arriving and continued to beat passengers with three-foot-long clubs.
The police condemned the violence in Yuen Long as well as at the main protest site in Hong Kong Island in a statement early Monday. “The police will not tolerate any violent behavior,” it said, adding that it’s “now actively following up the two incidents in order to bring the offenders to justice.”
Yoho Mall, which is connected to the metro station, said in a statement Monday that both its concierge staff and mall patrons immediately called police after noticing white-shirted attackers running through, but hadn’t been able to reach anyone. The shopping center is owned by Sun Hung Kai Properties Ltd.
At least 36 people were hurt in the fracas, with one in critical condition and four seriously injured, Radio Television Hong Kong reported.
Read: Thousands March in Hong Kong as Police Use Tear Gas on Crowds
(Updates with mall comment in sixth paragraph.)
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