HK police raid uni after student leaders pay tribute to police attacker

HONG KONG • Hong Kong's national security police yesterday raided buildings at the city's top university after its student leaders paid tribute to a man who stabbed a policeman.

Anti-police sentiment has been running high in Hong Kong, a deeply polarised city since huge, often violent pro-democracy protests that took place in 2019.

On July 1, a lone attacker knifed a police officer in a busy shopping district before taking his own life in what the authorities labelled an act of "domestic terrorism".

Officials warned people against mourning the attacker, saying any memorials amounted to "advocating violence, inciting hatred and beautifying attacks". But the student union council at the University of Hong Kong (HKU) expressed "deep sadness" at the man's death in a statement, which prompted officials to call for action.

Dozens of police officers with suitcases and boxes arrived at the university yesterday afternoon and searched buildings housing the student union, campus TV station and undergraduate office.

"The police is investigating a case related to advocating terrorism and searched our studio," Mr Kong Chak-ho, chairman of the campus TV station told reporters.

A spokesman for HKU confirmed that "police have entered the campus to investigate a case with a court order" and the university was "obliged to act in compliance".

The student union council last week withdrew its motion expressing sympathy for the attacker and apologised but the backlash has been unrelenting.

Hong Kong's leader Carrie Lam, who is the university's chancellor, on Tuesday called on HKU's management as well as police to look into the motion for any violation of the law. She called the resolution by the student union council "infuriating" and said she was "ashamed".

HKU has severed ties with its own student union while the chairman of the university's governing council said he would welcome any investigation by the national security authorities.

It is not the first time police have entered a university campus in Hong Kong as part of an investigation under the city's national security law. Last November, officers arrested at least nine people on suspicion of threatening national security after an on-campus demonstration featuring slogans that the authorities have declared illegal.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 17, 2021, with the headline 'HK police raid uni after student leaders pay tribute to police attacker'. Subscribe