Taiwan ruling, opposition parties condemn attack on HK protesters

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam walks behind a red barrier tape toward a press conference in Hong Kong Monday, July 22, 2019. Lam denies that police colluded with the masked assailants who indiscriminately attacked residents in a subway station. Lam called "unfounded" allegations that the police were working together with the Yuen Long station assailants, who beat people Sunday evening using steel pipes and wooden poles. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

TAIPEI (CNA) — Taiwan’s two major political parties on July 22 condemned an attack by a group of masked men on anti-government protesters at a Hong Kong subway train station Sunday night, urging Hong Kong authorities to thoroughly investigate the case and engage in dialogue with its people to resolve their differences.

At least 45 people were injured, with one person in critical condition, after a group of masked men, many wielding sticks and metal bars, clad in white T-shirts, entered a Mass Transit Railway (MTR) station in rural Yuen Long district and attacked passengers, including on a train, according to footage taken by commuters and opposition lawmaker Lam Cheuk-ting.

Pro-democracy lawmakers held a press conference on Monday at which they accused the city’s pro-Beijing leaders of turning a blind eye to the attack, according to media reports.

Asked to comment, ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) spokeswoman Lee Yen-jong (李晏榕) condemned the Hong Kong authorities for doing little to protect its citizens from such violent acts.

Lee said the reluctance of Hong Kong’s leaders to engage in dialogue with protesters, who have been calling for weeks on them to withdraw a proposed bill that would allow the extradition of criminal suspects to China for trial, is the main reason for escalating tensions in Hong Kong.

For the benefit of its people, Hong Kong authorities should listen to the public instead of serving as a puppet of the Chinese government, Lee urged.

Meanwhile, opposition Kuomintang (KMT) deputy spokesman Huang Hsin-hua (黃心華) said the party condemned such organized gang violence against anyone taking part in social movements, calling on the Hong Kong authorities to get to the bottom of the attack.

As a society known for rule of law across Asia, the Hong Kong government needs to enhance dialogue with its people to resolve the public lack of trust so the matter can be resolved rationally, he added.

Several rounds of protests have been held against the proposed bill, which has been suspended, but the demonstrations have since morphed into a wider movement calling for democratic reforms in the semi-autonomous territory.

By Yeh Su-ping, Yu Hsiang and Joseph Yeh