HK gov't, public outraged at rioters after senior worker critically injured


Bricks are scattered on Tong Ming Street, Tseung Kwan O, on Nov 8, 2019. (File photo: China Daily)

HONG KONG, Nov. 14 (Xinhua) -- The government of China's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) and the Hong Kong public have expressed outrage after a senior worker was critically injured in the violent acts by rioters.

According to a statement from the government of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), "an outsourced worker of the Food and Environment Hygiene Department, who is a senior, was suspected to be hit in his head by hard objects hurled by masked rioters during his lunch break yesterday (Nov. 13)."

The worker was described as suffering "serious injury and is in critical condition."

Video footage circulating online showed that the man, in a checked shirt and a dark coat, was standing facing some black-clad rioters who were hurling what seemed to be bricks, before he was hit and fell down.

"Saddened by the incident," the spokesman said in the statement, adding that the government "is in contact with family members of the worker through the service contractor and will provide all appropriate assistance to them."

"Masked rioters conducted extremely dangerous and violent acts in various districts three days in a row, where they wantonly assaulted other members of the public," said the spokesman.

"The acts are outrageous. Police will resolutely take law enforcement actions to restore public order. The HKSAR government appeals to members of the public to stay calm and rational as well as to stay away from violence to safeguard personal safety."

This is not the first time ordinary residents in Hong Kong have been  assaulted in the unrest.

On Monday, a 57-year-old man was beaten up by rioters on a footbridge in the Ma On Shan area because of different political view, and he was poured with suspected flammable liquid and set on fire by a rioter.

The man was still in critical condition at hospital with second-degree burns on 40 percent of his body, the Hong Kong police said on Wednesday.

Ta Kung Pao, one of the oldest Chinese language newspapers based in Hong Kong, ran an editorial asking why the old man was attacked without reason.

"He didn't stop working to go on strike as the rioters advocated, which was, in the eyes of the rioters, his sin," it said. "Hurling bricks was the punishment conducted by rioters, who, atrocious and cold-blooded, are no different from terrorists. We strongly demand the police to bring the accountable to justice."

The broadsheet newspaper Wen Wei Po in Hong Kong said that the violence targeting civilians in Hong Kong in recent days "not only deprived them of their basic rights to work and live, but also took away their freedom to stay away from fear."

In an editorial, Daily newspaper Ming Pao stressed that "Everyone's right and freedom should be respected. The acts of depriving people of their rights and imposing one's own will on others were obviously against the core value of a free society."

Leaders of Hong Kong's major religious groups on Thursday jointly signed a statement, calling on residents to say "no" to violence, and safeguard the welfare of Hong Kong people.

"When the rioters beat up civilians to almost kill them, and torched business stores to threaten safety of local residents, they have gone far beyond the bottom line of a civilized society," said Shiu Ka-fai, vice-chairman of the Liberal Party.

Wong Kam-leung, chairman of the Hong Kong Federation of Education Workers, also noted that rioters' tactics "disregarding safety of the majority of civilians were outrageously despicable".

"In the past several weeks, rioters lynched and vandalized so as to force civilians to shut up in the face of violence," said Cheung Kwok-kwan, vice-chairman of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong.

As the district council election was drawing near, he asked voters to show their attitude with their ballots. "If those who are unwilling to distance himself from violence get elected ultimately, Hong Kong's future will be more gloomy," said Cheung.