Well over a month after the latest bout of Hong Kong street protests erupted, the situation remains tense as ever when more than seven hours after the start of a major march against Hong Kong's now-suspended extradition bill, riot police in Hong Kong fired rounds of tear gas on protesters along Connaught Road Central, following skirmishes and a tense stand-off.
In an unexpected twist, the SCMP reports that in a darker turn of events on Sunday, a group of men in white suspected to be triad members attacked passengers at Yuen Long MTR station, particularly those wearing black, the color of protesters.
Confirming that China appears to be getting rather jittery, but instead of sending in the army is deploying it less "reputable" elements, a reported noted "absolutely astonishing scenes in Yuen Long, where Triad members clad in white are attacking anyone suspected of being a pro-democracy demonstrator (people wearing black are a target as that’s been the dress code for some marches, hence why triads are all in white)."
Meanwhile, absolutely astonishing scenes in Yuen Long, where Triad members clad in white are attacking anyone suspected of being a pro-democracy demonstrator (people wearing black are a target as that’s been the dress code for some marches, hence why triads are all in white). pic.twitter.com/lo13nRGp0L— Jack Hazlewood (@JackHHazlewood) July 21, 2019
And yes, there will be blood.
The blood stains left behind in yoho mall after the thugs stormed the mtr station and hit people pic.twitter.com/J99BLae7dJ— Jeffie Lam (@jeffielam) July 21, 2019
The Civil Human Rights Front, the organiser of the march earlier in the day, said 430,000 people attended while police put the figure at 138,000 at its peak.
Crowds then advanced beyond the original police-mandated end point at Wan Chai to Queensway and Central, where they began occupying main thoroughfares of Connaught Road Central and Connaught Road West, blocking vehicles from getting through and putting up wooden barricades. Another group of protesters advanced towards the liaison office.
Demonstrators also gathered outside the Court of Final Appeal, the initial finishing point of the march organizers had pushed for but police disallowed. By 7pm, crowds reached Beijing's liaison office in Sai Ying Pun. No police were seen guarding the building but a number of security guards were inside.
Meanwhile, back on Hong Kong Island, protesters have mostly left Sheung Wan, where police earlier fired several volleys of tear gas. A protester was using a loudspeaker to warn people against going back to Yuen Long, saying: “They'll hit you even if you change your clothes.”
Police at the scene look more relaxed, some sitting down on the road behind shields. At last check the situation appeared to be back under control, with occasional bouts of violence breaking out.
For now China has refused to intervene in Hong Kong's scuffles, although on Sunday, Sunday Times' notorious Editor in Chief, Hu Xijin, who has taken to trolling Trump in recent weeks, tweeted that "protesters on Sunday besieged building of the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in Hong Kong and defaced national emblem of China. This is crime."
Protesters on Sunday besieged building of the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in Hong Kong and defaced national emblem of China. This is crime. Hong Kong is quickly slipping from the Pearl of the Orient to a lawless place. pic.twitter.com/EU1AtyEBjp— Hu Xijin 胡锡进 (@HuXijin_GT) July 21, 2019
His conclusion: "Hong Kong is quickly slipping from the Pearl of the Orient to a lawless place" should probably come as a warning to HK natives: we won't intervene directly, but we will make sure HK's star is promptly extinguished.