Jimmy Sham, the leader of the Civil Human Rights Front — the force behind several massive rallies in recent months — was reportedly attacked by two armed masked men in Kowloon this afternoon.
Speaking to RTHK, Sham said he and his friend were having lunch at a restaurant on Tak Hing Street in Jordan at 1pm this afternoon when the two men carrying a baseball bat and long metal rod approached and began to attack them.
Sham wasn’t hurt in the melee, but his friend had to be sent to the hospital for two serious bruises on his left arm, one of which appeared to be severely indented from the impact of a blow.
Jimmy Sham, convenor of the Civil Human Rights Front, & his friend were attacked by 2 masked men in Jordan when they’re having lunch. Sham was unhurt but his friend was hit by a bat. The attack came just hours after police banned both a rally & march organised by the front on sat pic.twitter.com/IJXwarqYAK
— Jeffie Lam (@jeffielam) August 29, 2019
Speaking at a press briefing this afternoon, Regional Commander of Hong Kong Island Kwok Pak-chung said they arrived at the scene shortly after receiving a 999 call, but that the suspects were nowhere to be found.
He confirmed that police did not receive “any previous intelligence on this incident”, adding otherwise it could be properly dealt with.”
The case is currently being followed up by the Yau Tsim police district’s investigation team.
The news comes just hours after police announced that they had issued a letter of objection to the Front’s planned march and rally on Hong Kong Island on Saturday.
The march was to mark the five-year anniversary of the proposal of a so-called “electoral reform” package that would have allowed Hongkongers to vote for chief executive, but only from among a group of Beijing-approved candidates.
Though Sham had said the group was readying an appeal, he said he was not hopeful it would be successful.
CHRF has organized several major protests against the controversial extradition bill since June, including three that the Front said were attended by more than a million people.
Though the CHRF has emphasized its commitment to peaceful protest, hardcore protesters acting on their own have previously ignored police orders not to march past certain points, or to restrict their activities to Victoria Park, with clashes sometimes ensuing as hardline elements refuse to clear roads.
Police similarly objected to a CHRF march on Aug. 18, but allowed supporters to gather in Victoria Park instead. However, the turnout was so huge that crowds spilled out of the venue, and an unsanctioned march to Admiralty took place anyway.
Though technically illegal, the march was studiously peaceful, and marked the first weekend in Hong Kong without police deploying tear gas in several weeks.