A new row has erupted after police put forward what was seen as a different account of the high-profile mob attack in Yuen Long on July 21 last year and arrested two opposition lawmakers and others on various charges. Police commissioner Chris Tang Ping-keung swiftly sought to clear the air and the cases are now matters for the courts to decide. The uproar is a reminder that the political divide left by the extradition bill protests may well deepen further and makes reconciliation even more difficult. Tang made it clear that the force had no intention of rewriting history, after remarks by Senior Superintendent Chan Tin-chu sparked a public outcry. Contrary to previous media reports and the fact-finding probe by an independent police watchdog, Chan claimed an investigation showed protesters in black were actually on “equal footing” with thugs in white, not victims of an “indiscriminate attack”. He also said his colleagues reached the scene 18 minutes after being notified, not 39 minutes as the force previously admitted. But Tang later stood by the 39-minute interval, saying it was undesirable and warranted a review. Whether the clarifications calm emotions remains to be seen, but this is not the first time Tang has had to make up for inadequacies in the lower ranks. As he rightly noted, officers should have stuck to factual accounts rather than provocative descriptions. This is especially important when many cases have already been brought before the courts. The Yuen Long attack remains one of the most divisive episodes of last year’s turmoil. The latest arrests bring the total to 57. Court proceedings for eight of the 44 arrested earlier, involving rioting and assault charges, are still ongoing. The outcome shall continue to be a matter of concern. Judicial independence is the cornerstone of the rule of law. There is no reason to believe that a court will not rule impartially, but it is not the place to settle political disputes. The strong public reaction to the latest developments shows the wounds are far from healed. The divisions that remain and underlying political issues still need to be thoroughly addressed.