A 50-year-old Hong Kong man was arrested at the border on Tuesday afternoon after he attacked three people with knives near a ‘Lennon wall’ in Tseung Kwan O in the early hours on the same day.
A Lennon wall is a wall covered in graffiti or messages for various causes as in the John Lennon Wall in Prague in the Czech Republic.
The suspect for the stabbings is a man surnamed Hung, who is said to be a tour guide for mainland Chinese visitors. He was arrested at Lo Wu Control Point after he allegedly stabbed two women and one man in a pedestrian tunnel.
One of the victims, a 26-year-old reporter for the Hong Kong Economic Journal, is in a critical condition after suffering knife injuries to her neck and back. A 35-year-old woman is in a stable condition, while a 24-year-old man has been discharged.
It was understood that Hung felt angry because protests over changes to the city’s extradition law caused a significant drop in visitors from the mainland, which hit his income. He allegedly blamed the spread of the protests to various districts and violent clashes between police and protesters for stopping mainland Chinese from coming to Hong Kong, Sing Pao reported.
The tourism industry in Hong Kong has been hit hard over the past three months. Hotel occupancy rates are down by “double-digit” percentages, as were visitor arrivals in July. Group tour bookings from the short-haul market have plunged up to 50%, while bookings for August and September were also down significantly.
Some travel agents are considering putting staff on unpaid leave to help them cope until things return to normal.
Hung had been staying at home recently with pent-up frustration and anger, the reports said. At about 1am, he allegedly got knives from his home and went to the tunnel, supposedly to damage the sticky notes and posters on the Lennon Wall.
Hung had a dispute with volunteers at the scene, who were there to do some tidying-up. Hung claimed someone rushed at him so he grabbed his knives to resist and hurt three people.
He claimed he did not realize he had hurt people until he saw the pool of blood. He left and went to a housing estate nearby and changed his clothes before leaving.
His entry and exit were captured by a surveillance camera in the building’s elevator. Hong Kong police arrested him at Lo Wu for allegedly attacking three people and causing bodily harm.
The police said after an initial investigation, the suspect might have been drunk when the attack happened but they would investigate his motives further.
Hung was said to be a radical “blue ribbon” – a supporter of police and authorities, Apple Daily reported, citing the suspect’s peers.
A week before the attack, he left messages on instant message groups claiming “I want to beat up the rioters”. It was understood that he joined a number of pro-police events recently.
Stabbed by ‘blue ribbon’
Citizens slammed his violent attacks, saying it was ironic that protesters against the extradition bill were stabbed by a pro-establishment man, while protesters who have been damned as “rioters” by officials had so far not stabbed anyone.
Meanwhile, Michael Tien, the prominent pro-China lawmaker, said the Beijing government could send troops in to stifle the months-long unrest if the Hong Kong government is unable to stop the protests by early September.
Tien, a Roundtable lawmaker and member of the National People’s Congress, said he was informed about this deadline by a ‘reliable source.’
He explained that the Beijing government is anxious about the 70th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China – on October 1 – and wants positive media coverage to let them showcase their achievements. The leaders in Beijing did not want their celebration overshadowed by the anti-government demonstrations in Hong Kong.
Tien said the next 10 days would be a ‘golden opportunity’ for the government to take decisive steps to address the key demands of protesters, ahead of another ‘peaceful rally’ planned on August 31.
However, Tam Yiu-chung, a member of National People’s Congress Standing Committee, said he never heard such a deadline, Radio Television Hong Kong reported.
Tam said after he arrived at Beijing on Tuesday he believed the city government and their police would be able to handle the ongoing protests, and he didn’t wish to see the PLA’s Hong Kong garrison deployed.