As democracy protests in Hong Kong near the three-month mark, the deepest rift that has opened is the one between regular Hong Kongers and the police who are supposed to protect them.
In usually quiet streets, tear gas, rubber bullets, beanbag rounds, and sponge grenades have become common as police turn to more heavy-handed tactics to deal with a small but significant group of confrontational protesters even as most of those in the streets remain peaceful. Just as it seemed opinion of them couldn’t sink any further, police entered two subway stations last night (Aug. 31) and chased and beat people on platforms and crouching in trains. Clips of the beatings put many in mind of the armed thugs that attacked passengers in a train station in July when police failed to arrive in spite of multiple calls for help.
A customer service worker called Lai, who only gave his surname, was on a train that stopped at Prince Edward station in the Kowloon area after an altercation in one of its cars between protesters and older passengers, one of whom had a hammer. Lai said he saw one protester grab a fire extinguisher and release smoke.
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