Alcohol-fuelled row over ‘staring’ led to Yau Ma Tei machete gang attack
Victim in stable condition, as two arrested suspects treated in hospital custodial ward
A long-running dispute, that started with an alcohol-fuelled eyeballing confrontation between two groups of Nepali youths drinking in unlicensed bars, led to the weekend’s machete attack in Yau Ma Tei that prompted police to open fire, according to sources.
The two men who were shot remained under arrest in hospital on Monday night, one of them in a critical condition, while the victim was recovering from chop wounds. The two were each charged with one count of wounding. As the pair are still in hospital, the court will process their case in absentia.
On Sunday night, more than 100 police officers raided bars and gaming centres in Yau Ma Tei, hunting for the four missing men. The nine-hour operation ended at 5am Monday without success.
Police insiders said investigators traced the dispute back to a heavy drinking session in one of the many unlicensed walk-up bars and kitchens run by families in the neighbourhoods around Shanghai Street and Parkes Street.
One group was accused of staring at the other, and the confrontation had repeated several times over the past two months.
“Our officers were told that only words were exchanged and the two groups dispersed in most of the incidents,” one source revealed. “We were told that there was only one fist fight but it was not reported to police.”
He suggested Sunday morning’s attack might have been driven by revenge when six members of one group came across a man from the rival group.
The source said the two groups of men were known to frequent the walk-ups after work and over weekends. It was understood they had Hong Kong identity cards and lived in Yau Ma Tei, Tsuen Wan and Yuen Long. Some of them worked as builders.
“In their circle, [Nepali residents] are used to settling their disputes among themselves, and seldom seek help from police,” another source said.
At around 6am Sunday, the eventual victim was having breakfast at a dai pai dongwith his girlfriend, a bar waitress, on Parkes Street. The rival gang spotted and attacked him, six of them wielding machetes and hard objects.
The man, 33, tried to flee but was caught, beaten and chopped.
Three police constables from the Kowloon West emergency unit – two uniformed men and a woman in plain clothes – came upon the scene at the junction of Parkes Street and Nanking Street.
The two policemen fired four shots at two of the attackers, after they ignored warnings to drop their weapons. One man, aged 25, was hit by three bullets in the waist and hip. The second man, 23, was shot in his left forearm.
He ran off, flagged down a taxi and jumped into the front passenger seat, telling the driver to take him to hospital.
Hung Sau-fan, 31, the plain-clothes policewoman, dragged him out of the vehicle and subdued him at the scene.
“The taxi driver was smart,” a police source said. “He drove at a slow speed before our policewoman intercepted the vehicle and dragged the suspect out of the cab.”