Protests continued in Hong Kong over the weekend. Things got out of hand when riot police responded to a mall where a group of protesters had been holding hands and marching as a human chain. The police made an arrest and the protesters responded from the floor above by chanting “Gangsters!” Eventually the police left and that’s when an argument between a few people turned violent:
Senior police official John Tse said the man struck a couple with a knife outside a mall late Sunday after an argument, before turning his teeth on the politician’s ear. Tse said the assailant, whose name was not given, was then thrashed by an angry crowd, including two men aged 23 and 29. All three were arrested following the incident.
Five people were injured, including two who were in critical condition, police said.
Local media cited witnesses as saying that before going on a rampage, the man told his victims that Hong Kong belongs to China. Television footage showed the man suddenly grabbing district councilor Andrew Chiu by the neck and biting his ear when Chiu tried to stop him from leaving after the attack. A man was left unconscious on the ground in a pool of blood.
Andrew Chiu is described as a pro-democracy politician but it’s not clear the knife-wielding attacker knew that at the time. He may have just been trying to escape after the attack and when Chiu tried to stop him, he reacted by biting him.
The incident was partially captured on cell-phone video. This clip from the South China Morning Post is 8 minutes long. It starts with the ear-biting and then shows you everything that led up to it. Be aware this does show some injured people and plenty of blood:
All of that happened on Sunday. Wednesday morning there was another knife-attack. This time a man approached a pro-China politician named Junius Ho Kwan-yiu as he was campaigning in the street. The attacker calmly handed Ho a bouquet of flowers and then reached into his bag and pulled out a knife. He tried to stab Ho but apparently the injury wasn’t too severe. The attacker was taken down by security and was shouting “Kill Junius Ho!” Ho is hated by pro-democracy protesters because he was seen shaking hands with a group of men who had beaten up protesters at a mall this summer. Forty-five people were injured in that attack.
So we’ve had two knife attacks in less than a week, one apparently prompted by pro-Beijing views and one prompted by anti-Beijing views. Both attackers injured politicians from the other side and both could be facing attempted murder charges. The election is set to take place on November 24th. However, there is some speculation that the attack on Junius Ho could lead to delaying the election:
Starry Lee Wai-king, chairwoman of the largest pro-establishment party, the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, met with acting chief executive Matthew Cheung Kin-chung on Wednesday to call on the government to ensure the elections were carried out safely.
The party said 150 incidents of their candidates being harassed and vandalism targeting their offices had been reported in the last month…
Lee’s fellow party member Ip Kwok-him, an adviser to Lam, said the government could decide whether to proceed with the election one week beforehand.
“If on November 17 there is still massive unrest as we saw on October 1, then the government should really consider whether the election should go ahead,” Ip said. “We’d need an objective criteria that everyone agrees on.”
Several other politicians/candidates for office have been attacked prior to this week and all of them seem to be pro-democracy:
In October, pro-democracy activist Jimmy Sham, a leader with an organization that has called some of the summer’s biggest demonstrations, was attacked by a group of men wielding hammers and spanners. The incident came just weeks after he was attacked by men wielding a baseball bat and knife. And in late September, Labour Party member and election candidate Stanley Ho was set upon by four men, leaving him with bone fractures in both hands and a deep head gashes that required stitches.
Two female candidates in their twenties have also been attacked, with Jocelyn Chau being punched in the head as she handed out election flyers, and Janelle Leung being hit while she waited to cross a road.
So there is some reason to be concerned about security but while some pro-Beijing offices are being vandalized, pro-democracy politicians are being beaten. I suspect delaying the election would raise the level of anger among protesters rather than diminish it. But these politicians will presumably do whatever China wants them to do.
Here’s the video of the attack on Junius Ho.