Three Guangzhou residents claim they were beaten by subway security guards yesterday as police stood by when they tried to stop work on the transformer station. Those beaten included 65-year-old Peng Zhengjian , a former member of the Guangdong People's Political Consultative Conference Standing Committee and former special inspector with the Guangdong Police Bureau. Residents said there were several hundred subway security guards around the building site at 8am when the construction company resumed its work without informing them. They said more than 10 police vehicles and seven dogs, as well as two fire engines and two ambulances, were stationed nearby as several residents tried to make their concerns known to subway staff at 8.30am. Mr Peng said he was set upon immediately after asking: 'Who authorised you to resume the construction?' 'Several guards pushed me to the ground, pressed my hands into my back and kneed my buttocks for about 15 minutes,' he said. Luo Wenming , 40, said he was kicked by at least seven security guards. Security guards later detained the three men on a nearby lawn for about two hours. Witnesses said police officers were urged to stop the beatings, but claimed they were not in charge. Shenzhen metro officials said yesterday the project had been approved by provincial and state environmental watchdogs and was completely legal. 'The police came because residents were forming a mob,' the company said. Representatives of the affected households said the company had received approval to build the station in Gangding, about 2km away, and had secretly relocated the project to save money.