Arson attack on citizen ‘shocking’ and ‘insane’
Updated: 2019-11-12 07:47
Civic leaders described a malicious attack against an innocent citizen who was set on fire as “shocking” and “insane”, cautioning that the increasingly radical acts are posing a severe danger to public safety in Hong Kong.
To avoid more injuries, they urged the postponement of the upcoming District Council elections – a citywide public event that is likely to see mass clashes between violent protesters and those who hold opposing views – until the unrest is settled.
The remarks came after the city witnessed the most horrifying incident targeting an innocent resident since mid-June amid the ongoing “Extradition Bill Incident”, as a man was set on fire by masked black-clad radicals during a citywide protest on Monday.
The man, who tried to reason with the protesters and prevent them from vandalizing, is hospitalized in critical condition. The attacker is believed to have escaped from the scene.
Lau Siu-kai, vice-president of the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macao Studies, told China Daily that the incident showed that the protesters have become increasingly radical and have in some cases lost their minds.
“More and more of them are driven by personal sentiments rather than rationality,” he said.
Recently, a growing number of local residents have been attacked by black-clad radicals over differences of political views.
He pointed that the rampaging radicals, carrying lethal weapons in street protests across the city, have put unarmed citizens in grave danger.
Urging the rioters to show respect for others’ safety, he also called for more powerful and effective measures from the police and the government to quell violence and safeguard public safety.
Solicitor Kennedy Wong Ying-ho said the incident is “absolutely shocking”, as the radical attacked a local resident who did not even have any physical contact with them.
He said that anyone who commits such an offense could be charged with murder if the victim were to die of their injuries. Even if the victim survives, the attacker could be charged with “attempted murder”, a crime with a maximum penalty of life imprisonment, he added.
To better safeguard public safety, he called for the District Council elections, slated for Nov 24, to be postponed until society restores order. He explained that it is to avoid possible clashes between protesters and large groups of voters casting ballots.
Lawmaker Horace Cheung Kwok-kwan is also worried that the ongoing violence will affect the upcoming elections. He noted that there are widespread worries among society about possible violence on Nov 24. “Maybe today is just a rehearsal for the violent protesters,” Cheung said.
(HK Edition 11/12/2019 page4)