Daniel（alias） 19 years old Student
At 11 pm on August 31st, 2019, Daniel and his friends took an MTR (Mass Transit Railway) train home after a dinner together. When the train arrived at the Prince Edward station, numerous police officers ran into his train, randomly attacking passengers with batons and pepper spray. Daniel was surrounded by several “Raptors” (police under the Special Tactical Squad). He received multiple bruises on his back, shoulders, right arm, and legs. His right index finger was so swollen that Daniel couldn’t open up his hand.
Recalling the 8.31 MTR attack months later, Daniel still couldn’t believe what had happened. “I never had a good impression of the police, like the 7.21 incident (where a large number of people in white attacked Hong Kong citizens at the MTR station in Yuen Long, the police just ignored it). It didn’t happen to me, so I thought it’s distant. Even on the night of 8.31, as I was witnessing the Raptors running on the platform, I didn’t believe they would come onto the train.” The train stopped at the platform of the Prince Edward station and didn’t leave. Daniel didn’t know that the police were attacking people on the other side of the train. Overhead, the PA system announced, “Emergency announcement. Due to a serious incident, this station will be closed. All passengers must leave immediately.” At the platform, people started to panic because others reported that all exits leading out to the streets were blocked. Daniel ran onto a train in the opposite direction and was immediately surrounded by the Raptors. For eight long minutes, Daniel was beaten with batons and bombarded with pepper spray.
After the “terrorist attack,” the train drove toward the direction of the Central station. Daniel got off at the Yau Ma Tei station and took other means of transportation home. “Ridiculous! The police had never thought of arresting anyone on the train; all they did was attack people inside, then leaving. What was the point for them to do that?” The MTR claimed that there was a passenger dispute at the Prince Edward station that night, so a train captain called the police. The police arrived at the scene to “enforce the law,” pushed reporters out, and refused the aid of the first responders entering the station for rescue. During the incident, 63 people were arrested, with 7 injured and sent to the hospital. The police denied they had randomly attacked passengers and claimed that they had found petrol bombs on the arrested persons. MTR never provided a complete CCTV footage, resulting in uncertainties about people missing or killed.
The day after the attack was supposed to be the first day of university for Daniel. “I didn’t feel like going to school. At that time, the entire student body was on strike, so I didn’t go either,” said Daniel. The institution he was in said that the attendance rate of each subject must be 80% or more to pass. Daniel was absent due to his injury, but he didn’t file a sick-leave notice. “The more people that know about the incident, the more dangerous it would become. Unjustified arrest is a problem. Will the police end up arresting everyone inside that train?” asked Daniel. Students were on the frontline. Principals of universities repeatedly condemned the actions of their students but refused to condemn the violence of the police. “I can’t say universities report student information to the police, but I’m not willing to take the risk.”
Although Daniel lacked trust in his school, his dormitory had become his refuge. His parents didn’t know that he was attacked; only his older brother was aware. When he went home, he wore a coat to cover his scars. “They [Daniel’s parents] are extreme pro-establishment supporters, so they would say something awful. For example, if they were in the police’s place, they wouldn’t hesitate to kill all the protesters.” Daniel wasn’t originally a frontline protester, but after the attack, he decided to join the students’ union and help as much as he could.
Photography：Ko Chung Ming 高仲明
Text：Choi Wai Man 蔡慧敏
Translation：Joanna Ng (Switch language on top left corner)
About the series▾
Ko Chung-ming is a local Hong Kong photographer, having an over 20-year of experience in the field, he specializes in shooting photo-stories, in-depth coverage. His work 《Wounds of Hong Kong 港傷》 entered theSony World Photography Awards 2020 – Professional Group last three.
“The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting.”Scars and bruises may fade, but we must remember what caused them.
Ko states that the purpose of《Wounds of Hong Kong》is to record police brutality, and provided an in-depth interview story with each Hong Kong people who engaged in the movement. Amnesty International Hong Kong picked 10 stories out of 24, presenting to the public.