The attacker bites the politician's ear, others cut in Hong Kong

HONG KONG: a man who wields a knife cut several people and bit part of the ear of a pro-democratic politician in Hong Kong on Sunday, when riot police broke into several shopping centers to thwart protesters who have been demanding government reforms for almost five months.

The bloody attack erupted outside one of those shopping complexes, Cityplaza on. Local media said the attacker told his victims that Hong Kong belongs to China.

Television images showed the man biting the ear of district councilor Andrew Chiu, who had tried to prevent him from leaving after stabbing. The attacker was hit by a crowd before the police arrived.

The government, condemning the attack, said five people were hospitalized, including two in critical condition, and asked people to remain rational and put aside their political differences. `` They should abide by the law and not resort to vigilantism, '' a government spokesman said in a statement.

The attack came on Sunday night, a day in which online protesters were urged to meet in seven locations, including shopping centers, to sustain a boost to political reform.

Most of the demonstrations did not work as dozens of riot police took positions, searched and arrested people, dispersed crowds and blocked access to a park next to the city leader's office, Carrie Lam.

Some small pockets of unconditional protesters did not change.

While protesters sang slogans at the New Town Plaza mall in Sha Tin, police said they moved in after some `` masked troublemakers '' with fire extinguishers shattered the turnstiles and smashed windows at the downtown subway station commercial.

At two malls in the New Territories in the north, protesters vandalized shops, threw paint and attacked a branch of Japanese fast food chain Yoshinoya, which has been frequently targeted after the chain's owner voiced support for the Hong Kong police.

Police rushed into one of the shopping centers after objects were thrown at them. In another, protesters used umbrellas and bridles to close the entrance to the mall and prevent police from entering.

Later in the day, police broke into Cityplaza after some protesters sprayed graffiti in a restaurant. A human chain made up of dozens of people broke down and angry shoppers interrupted the police.

In the early hours of Monday, police threw tear gas after some protesters threw bricks and other objects at another district. A woman was injured after she allegedly jumped from a balcony to escape tear gas, local media said.

The protests began in early June over a now-shelved plan to allow extraditions to mainland China but have since swelled into a movement seeking other demands, including direct elections for Hong Kong's leaders and an independent inquiry into police behavior.

Lam has refused to give in and instead has focused on the measures that, according to her, contributed to the rage of the protesters, such as creating jobs and alleviating housing problems in one of the most expensive cities in the world. He invoked emergency powers last month to ban facial masks at demonstrations, causing more anger.

Her office said Sunday that Lam, currently in Shanghai, will head to Beijing on Tuesday. She is due to hold talks Wednesday with Chinese Vice Premier Han Zheng and join a meeting on the development of the Greater Bay Area that aims to link Hong Kong, Macao and nine other cities in southern China.

The project will help make it easier for Hong Kong residents to work and reside in mainland Chinese cities, and bolster the flow of people and goods, Lam's office said in a statement.

But the plan has also sparked concerns over China's growing influence over the territory. Many protesters fear Beijing is slowly infringing on the freedoms guaranteed to Hong Kong when the former British colony returned to Chinese control in 1997.

On Saturday, protesters attacked the Hong Kong office of China's state-owned Xinhua News Agency in a show of anger against Beijing, a day after China warned of tightening its grip on the city to quell the unrest.

In a statement, Xinhua strongly condemned the `` barbaric acts of mobs '' that had shattered and set fire to the lobby of its Asia-Pacific office building. He also deplored `` any act of sabotage against the media '' and called for an end to violence against the press.

Protesters have frequently targeted Chinese banks and businesses. In July, demonstrators threw eggs at China's liaison office in Hong Kong and defaced the Chinese national emblem in a move slammed by Beijing as a direct challenge to its authority.

On Friday, the Communist Party in Beijing vowed to `` establish and strengthen a legal system and enforcement mechanism '' to prevent foreign powers from sowing acts of `` separatism, subversion, infiltration and sabotage '' in Hong Kong.