Petrol bombs were thrown into Hong Kong MTR stations for the first time on Sunday and facilities at the stations were vandalized as violence escalated after a mostly peaceful but illegal rally in the afternoon.
MTR stations at Wan Chai, Admiralty and Causeway Bay were forced to shut down on Sunday afternoon, angering nearby residents as well as protesters. The violence escalated after the stations were closed.
Services were back up and running by Monday morning, but several stations bore the scars from Sunday’s chaos.
At Wan Chai station, burn marks were visible on the ground at two entrances to the station, where rioters had set fires and hurled petrol bombs. Piles of broken glass were covered by white canvas and some damaged surveillance cameras were wrapped in black plastic.
Inside Wan Chai station, the screens on several turnstiles were smashed and could not display any information on fares.
Admiralty station also suffered heavy damage and one exit had iron and plastic barriers where the glass railings had been smashed by radicals the night before. There were also reports that several surveillance cameras had been destroyed.
A number of MTR stations on the Island line were also damaged.
MTR Corporation, the city’s railway operator, and police condemned the actions of some hardcore elements of the crowd.
The MTR Corporation expressed deep regret over the arson attacks at Wan Chai and Causeway Bay stations and the “malicious vandalism” which damaged Admiralty and Tin Hau stations.
“The recurrence of violence and malicious vandalism at MTR stations not only severely impacted on passengers’ journeys, but also endangered the safety of passengers and MTR staff,” it said.
The police issued a statement on Monday condemning the “violent acts which disregarded law and order.”
The statement added that hurling petrol bombs outside Wan Chai’s MTR station and the nearby police headquarters posed a serious threat to those at the scene.
There were also violent clashes on the streets with people trading blows and verbal abuse North Point and Fortress Hill, where several injuries were reported. Some journalists said they were targeted in the clashes.