HONG KONG: A Hong Kong police officer had delayed paramedics responding to reports of injured people at Prince Edward MTR station on Aug 31, the Fire Services Department said on Thursday (Sep 12).
Deputy chief ambulance officer Tsang Man-ha gave a detailed account of the night to reporters at a press conference on Thursday. She said paramedics could not enter the station because it was on lockdown and they were forced to use another entrance.
Once there, they were told by a police officer that there were no casualties inside the station.
Police said at a separate press conference that there had been a communication problem and that the police officer who stop paramedics from going into the station might not have known about the situation inside.
The paramedics were finally allowed in at around 12.30am - about 15 minutes after they were stopped by the police officer.
INJURIES AT PRINCE EDWARD STATION
Riot police had stormed trains at Prince Edward MTR station in Mong Kok, making several arrests and deploying pepper spray after protesters rushed into the station on the night of Aug 31.
The incident has been in the spotlight after rumours circulated online that three protesters died during the police operation - a claim the authorities have repeatedly denied.
CCTV pictures were released by MTR Corporation on Tuesday in an attempt to quell the rumours, saying their records showed that no one had died in the station that night.
Two hours after police arrived, seven injured people were evacuated using a non-passenger train from Prince Edward station to Lai Chi Kok station, where they were then taken to hospital for treatment, according to MTR's timeline.
At a joint press conference with the police and fire service on Tuesday, MTR said the train was arranged at the police's request.
“It is impossible for us to leave the scene without taking good care of injured citizens,” said deputy chief fire officer Derek Armstrong Chan at the press conference on Thursday.
“We did not see anyone die that night. This is the assurance the Fire Services Department gives to Hong Kong citizens.”
Tsang promised a review into the delay, saying: "It was a communication problem. After coordination, police let us enter at 12.30am."
She added that the delay did not affect rescue operations.
Chief Superintendent John Tse gave an account of the incident in a later press conference.
"In the midnight at about (12.15am), I think I must say that one of our officers who was doing the cordon duties at the concourse level did tell the ambulancemen that there were no injuries in the station," he said.
"But it is only a communication ... because I think that you may understand that some of our officers may not know the overall situation inside the station.
"And that's why after communication with other officers in the platform, they did arrange the ambulancemen to offer assistance at half past 12 (12.30am) on that night."
Follow us on Telegram for the latest on Hong Kong: https://cna.asia/telegram