The unprecedented attack by about 100 thugs against protesters and bystanders in Yuen Long is not only shocking because of its brutality and brazenness . What is even more disturbing is the way some people in positions of authority have reacted to the extraordinary event, key aspects of which have been captured in videos by members of the public, including the press. Unfortunately, it will plunge the government into an even deeper crisis and increase distrust between the public and police . At least 45 people were injured, including a heavily pregnant woman, who fell to the ground after being attacked. So far, six men have been arrested, and more arrests are expected. The speed with which police detained the suspects contrasts sharply with the up to an hour it took officers to arrive at the scene. Later, some officers were filmed approaching a village where there were armed men dressed in white similar to those who carried out the attack. No arrests were made. Pro-Beijing lawmaker storms out of live TV show in protest row It’s hard not to conclude the arrests and subsequent anti-triad operation were made only after the attack was considered too scandalous by society to play down. Pro-government lawmaker Junius Ho Kwan-yiu made statements supportive of the gangs , though he subsequently distanced himself from the attack. It is hard to believe a solicitor and legislator – a former president of the Law Society no less – could ever condone such violence. One must question whether he is qualified to continue in such professional capacities. A day before the attack, Arthur Shek Kang-chuen, one of the founders of the Hong Kong Economic Times , made a speech calling on people to arm themselves to teach “children” a lesson, presumably a reference to young anti-government protesters. After his remarks, more than 100 journalists at the newspaper wrote a collective statement expressing shock and dismay. Shek apologised and said he knew nothing beforehand about the attack in which two journalists sustained serious injuries. Commissioner of Police Stephen Lo Wai-chung said the delayed response happened because of the mass protests on Hong Kong Island, which had strained manpower to the limit. It’s understandable that police may not have responded to the attack, which began as a face-off with anti-government protesters, with the greatest enthusiasm after all the mass rallies of the past two months. But officers must be reminded of their duty to protect everyone, including those they have no sympathy for.