Hong Kong police arrest a man in a knife attack at the protest site
HONG KONG: Hong Kong Police said Monday that a man armed with a 48-year-old knife who cut two people and bit part of a local politician's ear during the weekend protests was arrested, along with two men who attacked him in return.
Senior police officer John Tse said the man hit a couple with a knife outside a mall Sunday night after an argument, before sticking his teeth in the politician's ear. Tse said the assailant, whose name was not given, was struck by an angry crowd, including two men aged 23 and 29. All three were arrested after the incident.
Five people were injured, including two who were in critical condition, police said.
We do not tolerate any form of violence, regardless of one's motive and political stance. We will certainly investigate thoroughly and bring criminals to justice, said Tse.
Local media cited witnesses as saying that before going on a rampage, the man told his victims that Hong Kong belongs to China. Television footage showed the man suddenly grabbing district councilor Andrew Chiu by the neck and biting his ear when Chiu tried to stop him from leaving after the attack. A man was left unconscious on the ground in a pool of blood.
The incident occurred shortly after police broke into the mall and several other commercial complexes to thwart anti-government protests as tensions continue to increase after five months of disturbances in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory.
Although Chiu is a pro-democratic politician, it was not clear if that played any role in the attack.
It shows that tempers are flaring up despite government claims to promote reconciliation. It's a sign that the situation is getting out of hand. People are losing patience and throwing rational judgment to the wind, ' said Willy Lam, an adjunct professor at the Center for China Studies at Hong Kong's Chinese University.
Tse said there were several other bloody incidents over the weekend in which protesters attacked people with differing opinions. In an incident, a crowd beat a Beijing supporter until he became unconscious and then undressed the man on Saturday in a scene captured by local media.
Such public shame and bloody violence are totally against humanity, said Tse.
He said police arrested 325 people over the weekend. Operations intensified on Sunday to hamper unauthorized demonstrations and persecute radical protesters who destroyed stores, subway stations and committed fires the day before in a repeated weekly violence.
Rioters' destructive acts serve no other purpose than to vent their anger and grievances, real and imagined. Continuing this rampage is a lose-lose situation for Hong Kong, Tse said.
His comments were made through a live broadcast after police canceled his press conference when six journalists organized a protest and refused to leave. When wearing helmets with words that said `` Investigate police violence, stop police lies, '' they protested against what they said increased police violence against journalists covering the protests.
The demonstrations 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.
Many protesters are angry that Beijing is slowly infringing on the freedoms guaranteed to Hong Kong when the former British colony returned to Chinese control in 1997. There are no signs the unrest could stop any time soon as the government has refused to budgeting and Beijing has indicated it could tighten control over the territory.
Protest has been integrated into the life of Hong Kong people, said software developer Ming Or, 31, as I watched a crowd chant anti-government slogans at a downtown mall during lunchtime Monday.
Young people want a more fair and just society instead of having a bigger cake that is not divided equally, and we want our basic rights to be guaranteed. We cannot stop because we feel we are doing the right thing, he said. .