July 22 (UPI) -- Dozens were injured in Hong Kong early Monday after authorities said a mob of masked men used batons and bamboo rods to beat protesters at a train station.
The protesters were returning from demonstrations Sunday night opposing a controversial extradition law that's led to a string of violent protests in recent weeks.
Police said an angry group wearing white shirts and surgical masks, possibly members of the triad gang, were responsible for the Monday assaults. The group also attacked bystanders and journalists, officials said.
"We urgently appeal to the police to perform their duty and protect the people and journalists," the Hong Kong Journalists Association, Press Photographers Association and Independent Commentators Association said.
By the time riot police arrived, the assailants had fled. Dozens of angry residents and protesters criticized police for what they said was a slow response time.
"We have not made any arrests because we can't be sure of those involved," assistant commander Yau Nai-Keung said. "Even those dressed in white, that doesn't mean they are involved in the brawl. We will handle each case fairly no matter the political camp [a suspect] belongs to.
The Hong Kong government condemned the violence.
"This is absolutely unacceptable to Hong Kong as a society that observes the rule of law," it said in a statement. "The [government] strongly condemns any violence and will seriously take enforcement actions."
Reporter Gwyneth Ho was assaulted and another was seen with a bloodied mouth.
Hong Kong lawmakers have shelved the divisive extradition bill, but opponents have said the demonstrations will continue until the proposal is entirely withdrawn.