Knife-wielding man attacks Hong Kong pro-Beijing lawmaker

Knife-wielding man attacks Hong Kong pro-Beijing lawmaker

The scene after Hong Kong lawmaker Junius Ho was attacked
Screengrabs from a video circulating online showing Hong Kong lawmaker Junius Ho being attacked.

HONG KONG: A knife-wielding man on Wednesday (Nov 6) attacked a pro-Beijing lawmaker who has taken a tough stand against anti-government protests in Hong Kong, police said, as more demonstrations were planned for the Asian financial hub.

Legislator Junius Ho, his assistant and the alleged attacker were taken to hospital with unspecified injuries following the assault, police said.

READ: Our coverage of the Hong Kong protests

Video posted online showed the moment the attack took place.

A man holding a bouquet of flowers approached Junius Ho on Wednesday morning as the politician was campaigning with party members in his constituency of Tuen Mun, a town on the outskirts of Hong Kong near the border with China.

The man gave Ho the flowers, asked to take a picture and then pulled a knife from his bag before striking his victim in the chest.

Ho and his aides quickly subdued the man who could be heard shouting in Cantonese: "Junius Ho, you scum!"

A police source, who declined to be named, told AFP that Ho received a stab wound to the left side of his chest and the attacker was arrested.

Ho, 57, was conscious when he got into the ambulance.

He said in a statement posted online that he had suffered a knife wound to the upper left part of his chest, but said his life was not at risk. Two of his colleagues were also hurt, he said.

The attacker's motive was unknown but Ho gained notoriety among anti-government protesters in July when he was filmed laughing and shaking hands with suspected triad gang members who assaulted peaceful demonstrators.

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The attack on Ho comes amid more than five months of sometimes violent political unrest in the former British colony-turned semi-autonomous Chinese territory.

Alongside Hong Kong's leader Carrie Lam and police chief Stephen Lo, Ho has become one of the most loathed establishment figures among protesters.

He has long been one of the most stridently pro-Beijing politicians in the city.

But he shot to notoriety on Jul 21 after he was filmed shaking hands with a group of men in the town of Yuen Long who went on to beat protesters with sticks and poles, hospitalising 40 people.

He has delivered multiple speeches supporting Hong Kong's police force and echoing Beijing's condemnations of protesters, often using incendiary language.

Last month he accused a prominent opposition lawmaker of "eating foreign sausage" because she is married to a British journalist.

After the Yuen Long attack, Ho's office was ransacked by protesters and the graves of his parents were also vandalised.

Discussion of the incident went viral in mainland China, where the Internet is heavily censored.

Four hashtags related to the stabbing racked up 550 million views and more than 71,000 posts on Chinese social media by mid-afternoon.

The state-run People's Daily and Global Times newspapers also linked to a video of the stabbing on Twitter - a platform they have embraced to reach international audiences but is banned inside China.

Lam strongly condemned the attack when she met reporters in Beijing.

Protesters wearing Guy Fawkes masks in Hong Kong
Protesters wearing Guy Fawkes masks attend an anti-government demonstration in Hong Kong. (REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon/File Photo)

Further protests were planned on Wednesday at some of Hong Kong's universities, activists said. Police fired water cannon to disperse protesters at a Guy Fawkes-themed march on Tuesday.

China's Communist Party said on Tuesday it would not tolerate any "separatist behaviour" in Hong Kong, after some of the protesters called for independence.

What started as a protest against a proposed China extradition Bill has widened into the gravest challenge to Chinese President Xi Jinping's rule since he came to power in 2012.

Protesters are demanding an end to perceived Chinese meddling in the territory's affairs, as well as universal suffrage and an independent inquiry into alleged police brutality, among other demands.

Tensions have risen again in recent days after a teenager was left in a coma when he fell one storey inside a car park where police were firing tear gas at projectile-throwing protesters on Sunday night.

Beijing denies interfering and blames foreign governments for fuelling the unrest.

Xi met Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam on Tuesday in Shanghai, vouching support for her administration.

Following the meeting, Lam denied rumours that the government was considering an amnesty for protesters charged with offences.

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Source: Agencies/nc