West turns blind eye to full story behind HK police arrest: expert

By Wang Wenwen and Chen Qingqing in Hong Kong Source:Global Times Published: 2019/9/1 19:48:39

Protesters jump over turntiles at an MTR station on August 11. Photo: Wang Wenwen/GT

As violence erupted across Hong Kong on Saturday night, the city's metro authorities closed five lines and the police arrested dozens of protesters inside the stations.

Members of the police Special Tactical Squad known as "raptors" arrested 40 people in the Prince Edward station, as rioters fled to the station following violent street protests. 

Western media and some local media were quick to accuse police of using excessive force at the station, but video clips showing what happened before the police arrived, tell the true story.

A 9-minute video shows a group of black-clad rioters, wearing masks and helmets in verbal disputes with passengers on the MTR train and when tensions escalated further the train stopped moving. 

The rioters were seen stepping out of the carriage but continuing to harass passengers, including several elderly men and a woman. Rioters are seen in the video giving the middle finger to ordinary Hongkongers. When one man stood up to confront the rioters they threw bottles of water, umbrellas and other objects at him. 

When another man, who was outraged by the attack, pulled out a hammer to protect himself the rioters quickly surrounded him and attacked him.

Another online video clip shows rioters assaulting passengers and hurling fire extinguishers into the train, releasing plumes of fire retardant throughout the carriages. An elderly man confronted the rioters and prevented them from getting on the train, but protesters still made loud provocations outside the train on the platform of the station. 

A young woman was also seen in the video being robbed of her phone and assaulted by black-clad protesters.

Around 11 pm, police rushed into the station to make arrests. 

A police spokesperson said later at a press conference that protesters who assaulted others and damaged property were arrested inside the station. 

However, a TV news report, which showed police beating people with their batons inside train carriages and deploying pepper spray, was widely shared by Western and local Hong Kong media as another example of police brutality against civilians during the protests.

Opposition groups have already come up with new propaganda strategies to distort the law enforcement carried out by police by exaggerating the arrests of black-clad rioters at the station, and claiming that the police randomly attacked protesters regardless of their actions.   The reports neglected to explain the reasons for the arrests and that many rioters assumed the identity of "ordinary people" as their shield in order to get away from the police after participating in illegal protests.

The spokesperson explained that some black-clad protesters had quickly changed their clothes and mingled with the crowd, which made the situation tougher for the police to handle.

TVB reported that the protesters changed into white shirts.

The police will distinguish rioters from ordinary citizens based on their professionalism, the spokesperson stressed, adding that some video only showed part of what happened.

The videos have been widely circulated on social media and aroused public sentiment against the police, with little mention that the rioters vandalized MTR property, assaulted passengers and impeded public order after attending an unauthorized protest earlier that day. 

This is not the first time Western and some Hong Kong media have spoken up for protesters. They point their cameras at the police and call rioters "citizens."  The real peaceful residents who were attacked by rioters are hardly ever shown and the current chaos in Hong Kong is partly the fault of such media reports, said Wang Dan, an associate professor at the University of Hong Kong.

Newspaper headline: West blind to full story of HK arrests: expert

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