Thirteen more people have been arrested on August 26, a year after the 721 Yuen Long incident. The police, during its media briefing on the 26th, said it was ‘impossible’ to mark down each person’s identity since the crowd was huge that night, adding that by the time crime officers arrived at 3:30am, most people had already left Nam Pin Wai.
FactWire investigated the case and found that at least 500 police officers had already surrounded the area before some of the men dressed in white left. At around 1-2am, the ratio of police to men in white was over 1.6 to 1.
According to FactWire’s video filmed at the scene, some of the men dressed in white were even able to cross the cordon freely, while officers made way for their cars to pass. The officers did not stop and search any of the men nor take down their identities.
Media reports show hundreds of men dressed in white gathered in Nam Pin Wai after midnight on July 22, 2019. Some of them were still wielding their poles with their helmets upon their heads. At around 1am, as more police vehicles arrived, riot police and plainclothes officers surrounded the village.
Taking reference from the IPCC Thematic Study on the incident, around 500 riot officers stood by at Nam Pin Wai at 1:04am. At 1:26am, another regional response contingent unit was deployed to Yuen Long. The report states that there were 300 people dressed in white gathered at Nam Pin Wai at 1:49am. Thus, the ratio of police to the white-clad men was over 1.6 to 1.
At 1:48am, tens of police officers patrolled through Long Yat Road but stopped before reaching the carpark of Nam Pin Wai where more than a hundred men in white had assembled. Two men in white approached the police and lingered around the exit, directly in front of the cordon.
At 1:55am, as a black car exited the village, the two men in white standing at the exit retreated to the sides. One man held his arm up asking the police to make way for the car. The police cordon was then opened to let the car through. Both the driver and the front-seat passenger were dressed in white.
The two men remained around the exit while some of the riot police lowered their shields. The cordon was not reformed.
At 1:57am, a man with a helmet wielding a stick escorted four other men in white into a white car. Riot police officers stationed about ten metres away did not take any action and allowed the car to leave.
At 2:09am, another car left through the same exit. The driver and front-seat passenger were also wearing white. The officers, again, made way for the car to pass.
In total, based on FactWire’s half-an-hour-observation, at least three cars carrying men in white were able to leave the scene without any police intervention.
Apart from the vehicles, several men in white were also filmed coming and going freely by foot. At 1:56am and 2:07am respectively, about five men wearing white walked past roughly 20 officers. The police did not take any action.
It was not until 2:21am that police could be seen moving. Two riot officers accompanied a man in white into the car park where the white-clad crowd of men had gathered, but in half a minute, they were seen coming back out again.
According to the IPCC Thematic Study, crime officers of Yuen Long District arrived at 3:25am that night. New Territories North (Crime) Senior Superintendent Chan Tin-chu said in a media briefing two days ago, ‘By that time, most of the people in black had already put down their weapons and left. As for those in white, a lot of them had left as well, through other ways of the village. They had put down those so-called weapons.’
However, according to the IPCC Thematic Study and the media, around 200 men in white were found in Nam Pin Wai when crime officers arrived. Superintendent Yau Nai-keung said in a media briefing at 5:05am that morning that his colleagues of the crime team did not see anyone holding offensive weapons when they arrived at the scene. No arrest was made that morning.