Riot police cleared a mob of 800 villagers from the newly opened flea market in rural Yuen Long yesterday after a protest threatened to escalate into a gang fight. Police believed the incident was sparked by disputes between rival triad gangs. An urgent meeting between police and the Department of Planning, Environment and Lands is expected to map out strategies before the weekly bazaar re-opens next Friday. Tension escalated when a 300-strong mob, who claimed to be residents of Pat Heung Upper Village, stormed the Kam Sheung Road market at 8.30 am. The protesters, some of whom covered their faces with scarves, hurled bottles and stones at the 500 traders and visitors, demanding they leave. They claimed traffic had been paralysed and the area left in appalling condition after the market opened last week. The confrontation was on the point of erupting into violence before about 100 riot police, armed with plastic shields and tear gas, intervened. The mob retreated after repeated threats of firm police action. Pat Heung's police division commander, Superintendent Bill Wong Fook-cheung, said yesterday: 'We suspect some of the so-called residents are outsiders, or more likely, triad members. 'Anti-triad officers will keep a sharp eye on the flea market operation. We hope to hold a meeting with relevant departments as early as possible.' Villager Lai Wai-hung, who revived the bazaar in Pat Heung after the closure of the Sek Kong Friday flea market last month, also said he heard about traders being bullied by triad members. There were no reports of arrests or injuries. Demonstrators staged a protest last week when the market opened at the site.