Gang warfare fears after Temple Street brawl

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 21 June, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 21 June, 2006, 12:00am

Police fear possible gang warfare after a brawl between two alleged gangsters and a group of Nepali men in Yau Ma Tei yesterday.

A constable drew his revolver to stop the fight, which broke out in Temple Street in the early morning.

Four local men - two Hong Kong Chinese and two Nepalis - were arrested after they wrestled with police. The officers were unhurt but the suspected gangsters were injured. A 38cm-long knife and several bloodstained iron bars were found at the scene.

Officers were called after eight or nine men started fighting in Temple Street near the junction with Nanking Street shortly after 7.30am.

Two suspected 14K triad members encountered six or seven Nepalis after drinking heavily at a nearby pub, according to police. The Nepalis were drinking and chatting outside a convenience store.

A police patrol van that drove past pulled over after hearing people shouting at the scene. As three officers from Kowloon West emergency unit jumped out of the van, some of the men ran off.

Police said two Nepalis carrying a knife and plastic chair were still fighting at the spot with the two alleged triad members, who were armed with iron bars.

'A plain-clothes constable drew out his revolver at a distance of about 3 metres away from a Nepalese man who continued to attack one of the Hongkongers with a knife,' a police source said.

'The knife broke, but the Nepalese man picked up an iron bar and continued to fight.'

A plastic chair used by another Nepali also broke into two pieces, according to police.

The four men eventually dropped their weapons and fled. At the same time another police van carrying four officers arrived.

'Officers had to give chase for about 40 metres before stopping the four men. The injured gangsters put up a struggle but were eventually overpowered,' the source said.

The arrested, aged 23 to 38, were taken to Queen Elizabeth Hospital where they were treated and later discharged. Last night they were being detained for questioning.

Officers from the Police Tactical Unit cordoned off a section of Temple Street for about four hours as investigators retrieved the bloodstained knife and iron bars, which were stolen from nearby stalls.

Assistant Yau Ma Tei divisional commander (crime) Chief Inspector Tam Kwok-on said an initial investigation showed it was not a premeditated attack or racial conflict.

The Wo Shing Wo is the most active triad gang in Temple Street and has recruited some ethnic minorities like Nepalis and Vietnamese, according to another police source.

'We are closely monitoring the situation with the help of anti-triad officers from the Yau Tsim district crime squad and Kowloon West regional crime unit. We will take enforcement actions before any trouble erupts,' the source said.

Last night police were still looking for several Nepali men in connection with the fight.