World Hong Kong court jails seven over train station mob attack
Washington is warning American firms about doing business in Hong Kong
The US government is preparing to warn American companies about the risks of doing business in Hong Kong. © Susan Walsh/AP President Joe Biden speaks during a news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Thursday, July 15, 2021. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh) US President Joe Biden on Thursday confirmed reports in various media outlets this week that his administration plans to soon issue an advisory to companies that will caution them of a "deteriorating" situation in the Chinese territory.
Seven Hong Kong government supporters who took part in a violent assault on democracy supporters and commuters were jailed Thursday for what the trial judge described as an "indiscriminate attack".
The jailings came exactly two years after a gang of men dressed in white shirts and carrying sticks descended on people returning at night from a democracy rally in the town of Yuen Long.
The brazen assault -- and the police's failure to respond quickly enough -- was a turning point in 2019's huge and often violent pro-democracy protests, further hammering public trust in both the force and Hong Kong's government.
The U.S. will warn companies about Hong Kong's 'deteriorating' situation, Biden says
U.S. President Joe Biden said China's government "is not keeping its commitment" that it made on Hong Kong."The situation in Hong Kong is deteriorating. And the Chinese government is not keeping its commitment that it made how it would deal ... with Hong Kong," Biden said at a Thursday news conference with visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Only a handful of attackers were ever identified and charged by police.
On Thursday, seven men were given terms of between three years and nine months to seven years in jail following their conviction for rioting.
Judge Eddie Yip said the gang of attackers had "collectively lost their minds" and heavy sentences were required because of the violence used and its impact on the community.
"They collectively took the law into their own hands and put residents in extreme terror," he said.
After the sentences were read out, some supporters of the defendants shouted insults at Yip, including calling him "dog judge".
One man holding a Chinese flag repeatedly shouted "dog judge" as he walked outside the courtroom.
Thailand sends COVID-19 patients to hometowns by train
BANGKOK (AP) — Authorities in Thailand began transporting some people who tested positive for the coronavirus from Bangkok to their hometowns on Tuesday for isolation and treatment to alleviate the burden on the capital’s overwhelmed medical system. A train carrying more than 100 patients and medical workers in full protective gear left the city for the northeast. It will drop patients off in seven provinces, where they will be met by health officers and taken to hospitals. Medical authorities in Bangkok said Monday that all ICU beds for COVID-19 patients at public hospitals were full and that some of the sick were being treated in emergency rooms.
- Flashpoint -
During the Yuen Long attack more than a hundred men pounced on protesters as well as reporters and ordinary commuters, sending some 50 people to hospital.
Much of the attack was broadcast online by journalists and victims. Police later confirmed some of those involved had links to triad organised crime gangs.
The ambush became a public relations disaster for Hong Kong's government, especially after police officers were photographed talking to men in white wielding sticks and letting them leave the scene.
An award-winning investigation by public broadcaster RTHK found police did not stop a build-up of men with sticks in Yuen Long in the hours before the attack.
A producer on that investigation, Bao Choy, was later convicted for making improper vehicle licence plate searches as part of an effort to trace the attackers.
Hong Kong police have consistently denied any wrongdoing and allegations of collusion. It says its officers were too busy handling violent democracy rallies across the city.
In more recent months, police have sought to recast events of that night with one senior officer calling it an "evenly matched" fight between two opposing sides.
They have charged some of those who were attacked with rioting, including prominent pro-democracy politician Lam Cheuk-ting who was beaten bloody. Lam is expected to go on trial in 2023.
In late June, Hong Kong's newly appointed police chief Raymond Siu said the response to the attack had fallen short of "some residents' expectations".
But he also asked people to "move on".
China official in Hong Kong says U.S. sanctions, business advisory have 'despicable intention' .
China official in Hong Kong says U.S. sanctions, business advisory have 'despicable intention'The United States imposed sanctions on Friday on seven Chinese officials over Beijing's crackdown on democracy in Hong Kong, Washington's latest effort to hold China accountable for what it calls an erosion of rule of law in the former British colony.