A Hong Kong player who did not want to be identified spoke to The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age at the airport.
“The game was about to end and they started punching us,” he said, surrounded by his team mates wearing jerseys bearing their player numbers. Player 23, who received the most punches, was not at the airport.
“We were winning 11-2. Team Hong Kong was trying to protect themselves as shown in the video. Hockey is not fighting … Hong Kong team was told not to retaliate,” he said.
The Shenzhen players involved have been barred from playing for a year, the South China Morning Post reported. Handed a copy of the newspaper by air hostesses after boarding their flight to Hong Kong, the teenagers gathered around to read the report on the incident.
They said they had been told not to make any further comment on the sensitive incident.
Tensions between mainland Chinese youth and Hong Kong youth have also spilled into scuffles at university campuses in Australia and New Zealand in the past week.
Organisers of Saturday night’s march said 120,000 people had come to Mong Kok. As night fell, the streets of Kowloon saw large numbers of riot police again firing tear gas at protesters.
The protesters turned out on the streets in spite of riot charges being laid against 44 protesters, including a 16-year-old girl and a pilot who were arrested last Sunday, and who face a maximum penalty of 10 years in jail.
Last week Beijing ramped up its propaganda offensive against the Hong Kong protesters, firmly backing Chief Executive Carrie Lam and the Hong Kong police force.
Chen Daoxiang, commander of the Chinese military garrison in Hong Kong, also condemned the “extreme violence”, warning his troops would back the territory’s police.
He released a video online highlighting riot control.
The protest movement began on June 9 against a now-suspended extradition bill that would have allowed for the extradition of suspected criminals to mainland China, but has escalated into a great expression of anger at the Hong Kong government.
Lam has failed to meet any of the protest demands including that she step down and form an independent commission into police brutality.
Protesters say they will carry on until their demands are met.