HONG KONG (REUTERS, BLOOMBERG, XINHUA) - 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 are 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. They were conscious when they were taken to the hospital. One person has been arrested.
The attacker’s motive was unknown but Mr 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.
Mr Ho, who is running in the District Council elections this month, was campaigning in Tuen Mun, an area in the New Territories, on Wednesday morning when he was attacked, Ming Pao newspaper reported.
Videos circulating on social media of the incident showed a man jabbing what appeared to be an object into Mr Ho's upper torso shortly after speaking and giving flowers to him. He was reportedly stabbed in the left side of his chest.
The footage also showed Mr Ho subduing his attacker on the ground.
The attack on Mr Ho comes amid more than five months of sometimes-violent political unrest in the former British colony-turned-semi-autonomous Chinese territory.
Further protests were planned on Wednesday at some of Hong Kong’s universities, activists said. Police fired water cannons to disperse protesters at a Guy Fawkes-themed march on Tuesday.
China’s Communist Party said on Tuesday that 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.
Beijing denies interfering and blames foreign governments for fuelling the unrest.
Mr Xi met Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam on Tuesday in Shanghai, and vouched support for her administration.
Following the meeting, Mrs Lam denied rumours that the government was considering an amnesty for protesters charged with offences.