Police 'too Busy' To Send Backup Any Sooner

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2019-07-22 HKT 12:01

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  • Police superintendent John Tse said it took 35 minutes for officers to attend Sunday night's violence at Yuen Long MTR Station. File photo: RTHK

    Police superintendent John Tse said it took 35 minutes for officers to attend Sunday night's violence at Yuen Long MTR Station. File photo: RTHK

A police spokesman said on Monday that there was a 35-minute delay before officers went into Yuen Long MTR Station during a violent rampage by a gang armed with sticks because there was so many other incidents for the force to deal with.

Superintendent John Tse from the media liaison and communication division said police received a report of trouble at the station at around 10.45pm, and two uniformed officers arrived at the scene about seven minutes later.

Tse said the officers saw more than a hundred people inside the station and some were holding weapons. They decided that “the situation was serious” and called for assistance.

However, Tse said “at the time, in the same district, there were many other fights and fire cases that had to be handled”, so the support team did not arrive until 11.20pm.

He said the two uniformed officers, while waiting for support, stayed in the vicinity of the station and continued to assess the situation to make sure they themselves were safe.

He added that the force believes the two officers did the right thing, because they had no protective gear, and even though they had guns, it would be dangerous to fire them in such a crowded place.

Tse also said it is “understandable” that no arrests were made when officers entered the nearby Nam Pin Wai village where some attackers were believed to have fled, because officers could not be sure anyone was involved in the MTR station attack.

He added that he "cannot completely agree" with allegations that police had colluded with triad groups and allowed the attack, adding the force will not collaborate with any criminals, and arrests will be made when enough evidence has been gathered.

He also said that during “mass conflicts” in recent weeks, the intervention of officers only resulted in more chaotic scenes, so it is therefore “necessary for the police to carefully assess the appropriate time to intervene”.