Are triad gangs Beijing’s big stick to beat Hong Kong protesters?

World

Are triad gangs Beijing’s big stick to beat Hong Kong protesters?

Attack that left 45 people hurt sparks fears the city’s pro-China thugs are wading into the political conflict

Nicola Smith and Michael Zhang

Petrified screams fill a metro carriage as people scramble from stick-wielding thugs; a pregnant woman lies motionless after repeated blows; a young man pleads for mercy on his knees, only to be smacked in the face.

In the age of live-streaming, Hong Kong residents woke up on Monday to the sickening horror of a vicious assault on pro-democracy protesters and innocent bystanders by suspected triad gangsters in the Yuen Long district. Pictures of bloodied faces, gashed heads and bruised limbs overwhelmed social media channels after Sunday night’s attack, which left 45 wounded and one in a critical condition.

Panic-filled cries, captured in footage of hordes of white-shirted men terrorising passengers with sticks and poles, struck deep in a city already reeling from a profound political crisis. The seemingly coordinated assault, on protesters returning from a huge pro-democracy march, marked a dramatic escalation in the turmoil that has plagued the financial hub for six weeks...

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