Hong Kong police have told citizens that mourning the death of a man who stabbed a police officer last week “is no different than supporting terrorism” as the case was taken up by the department of homeland security.
The comments followed the stabbing of an officer in the back Thursday night by a 50-year-old man in Causeway Bay. Police said the man took his own life. The 28-year-old officer suffered a perforated lung in the attack and remains in hospital in critical condition, according to local media.
The authorities labeled the attacker, named by the media as Leung Kin-fai, as a “lone wolf” domestic terrorist who had been politically radicalized, and blamed the people who “incite hatred” against China. The incident took place on the anniversary of Hong Kong’s transfer from British to Chinese rule, and thousands of police were deployed to prevent protests in the deeply divided city.
It was also the anniversary of the first full day of the national security law, which broadly prohibits the crimes of secession, sedition, foreign collusion, and terrorism. The law has been described as draconian and authoritarian, and authorities have been accused of using it to crush the opposition following massive pro-democracy protests in 2019.
On Saturday, some Hong Kongers sought to pay tribute to Leung on the site of the attack and online. The police accused them of “trying to glorify, romanticize, make heroic and even rationalize the blatant violence of the attacker,” and suggested that such action could violate national security law.
“Advocating for the public to cry for the attacker is no different from supporting terrorism,” police said in a statement. “It will incite more hatred, divide society and eventually break social order and endanger public safety, threatening everyone in Hong Kong.”
Chris Tang, the city’s security secretary and former police chief, said on Friday that a search of Leung’s home uncovered materials on his computer showing that he had been “radicalized,” but did not elaborate.
“It is not only the aggressor who should be held responsible for this incident, but also the many people who habitually advocate violence, incite hatred against the country and embellish these attacks, these acts of violence,” Tang said.
Police Chief Raymond Siu said Sunday that the department of homeland security was investigating the attack and whether others were involved, and would not rule out further arrests.
A 20-year-old woman and a 26-year-old man were arrested Sunday for allegedly inciting violence against police online. It was unclear whether the police considered the related cases.
Over the weekend, the assailant’s employer, Vitasoy, faced a backlash after an internal memo was posted online acknowledging that Leung was an employee, and included condolences to his family. A public statement from the company supported the police investigation and stability in Hong Kong and China.
Following threats of a boycott in China, and some Chinese celebrities ending their collaborations with the company, Vitasoy issued an apology on Saturday, saying the memo was written by an unapproved employee and was “highly inappropriate.”
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism