Critics of lawmaker Junius Ho today escalated their feud to new heights — or shameful new lows, as the case may be — circulating images of what appear to be the desecrated tombs of the pro-Beijing firebrand’s parents.
Ho, who is no stranger to controversy, has been the target of a massive outpouring of anger ever since he was filmed on Sunday night palling around with a group of men later linked to the vicious attacks on protesters and commuters at Yuen Long MTR stations.
After Ho offered a half-hearted condemnation of the attack, while simultaneously calling the perpetrators “heroes,” opponents responded by trashing one of his offices in Tsuen Wan yesterday afternoon.
The feud deepened today, as Ho refused to give an inch in public appearances — despite criticism from such disparate sources as his alma mater and the local horse racing industry — and his critics took their own responses far beyond the realm of lawful dissent.
Ho kicked things off with an appearance on an RTHK program that began as typical talk show fodder, and ended with him storming out after calling a fellow guest “scum” and getting heckled by an RTHK staffer.
During the discussion, Ho went on the offensive against the city’s long-running anti-extradition movement, urging Hongkongers to “stop and think whether we should continue with these so-called peaceful protests” amid repeated violent clashes.
When localist-leaning pro-dem lawmaker Eddie Chu Hoi-dick, who was also on the program, questioned out Ho’s apparent chumminess with the decidedly violent Yuen Long attackers, Ho hit back, saying, “You led the riots and tore Hong Kong society apart, so you should be investigated.”
Ho went on to demand future protests be stopped — and demanded that his fellow guest say so too.
Chu had questioned plans for a “Reclaim Yuen Long” protest this weekend while appearing on a different program this morning, saying such a move was risky and urging anyone who did participate not to “give the villagers a reason to fight back.”
“Make a public appeal now to ask Hong Kong people to stop with the protests,” Ho demanded of Chu on RTHK, becoming increasingly animated as he shook Chu by the shoulder and pointed to the cameras (around 18 minutes into the video above).
“Look at the camera and say it!” Ho continued, as a perturbed-looking Chu refused.
The heated conversation continued for a few minutes more, with Chu at one point listing the key demands of recent demonstrations. As he reached “release the protesters” — in reference to calls for amnesty for those arrested — Ho could finally bear no more, rapping the table with his knuckles as he shouted Chu down.
“You are a lawmaker and you bring violence into the LegCo, and now you are bringing violence to the society? You’re scum!” Ho shouted, slamming the table with both palms one last time for emphasis before standing up, removing his mic, and storming out.
As a parting jab as he walked away from the table, Ho angrily told Chu that he didn’t deserve to be a lawmaker. Immediately, a voice from off-camera calls out: “You don’t either!”
Ho can be heard asking who the person is, with the heckler responding, “I’m RTHK staff and a Hong Kong voter.”
Still fired up from the on-air exchange, Ho stepped out of the studio and into an energetic press conference inside the broadcaster’s lobby, accusing Chu of inciting protesters, and at one point saying he didn’t need to disavow Sunday’s white-clad attackers because reporters in the press pack were wearing white too.
“Not only the villagers, all residents in Hong Kong should abide by the law, should behave themselves!” Ho testily replied, when asked if he would encourage Yuen Long residents not to attack people. “This is the starting point! Why do you just ask me to appeal to the villagers?”
As Ho leaves the press conference, a small crowd outside RTHK’s gate begins taunting him. Seemingly energized by the heckling, Ho walks to the gate, gestures for the traffic barrier to be raised, and walks out into the street.
“It is okay to give opinions, any opinions,” he tells the crowd. “Even if you swore at me — I’m used to it.”
Ho managed to largely keep his cool while speaking to the crowd — despite one person cheekily boop-ing him in the nose with a mic — at one point joking about people throwing shoes at him.
“Make sure it’s a pair — I wear size 8.5,” he said, before finally getting a van and being driven off.
Around the same time Ho was appearing on their program, RTHK reported that members of the horse racing community were petitioning the Hong Kong Jockey Club to cancel Ho’s membership and bar his horse, the 3-year-old Hong Kong Bet, from all races over Ho’s alleged violation of club rules. Thousands had signed similar petition at Ho’s alma mater, Queen’s College, condemning Ho for “siding with mobs.”
A few hours later, at around 2:50pm, police were called to one of Ho’s offices in Tin Shui Wai, which had been surrounded by protesters, Apple Daily reports. Police escorted Ho’s staffer away in a police car, and the office was closed about three hours early as the crowd transformed its facade into an impromptu “Lennon Wall.”
Another crowd gathered at Ho’s offices in Tuen Mun at around the same time, throwing eggs at the sign, and posting messages calling for universal suffrage on its security shutter.
Police visited the scene briefly, but declined to take action against any of the protesters, and neither scene had descended into the kind of property damage witnessed at Ho’s office in Tsuen Wan as of press time.
But the anti-Ho antics escalated from from civil disobedience to wholly uncivil vandalism when an unknown person or persons did the one thing that might engender sympathy for the unapologetic pugilist: they desecrated the tombs of his mother and father.
Junius Ho (何君堯)'s mother's grave has just been vandalised. You wonder if he'll ever realise that actions have consequences. The rumour on social media app LIHKG is that it was actually done by rival Triad gang members opposed to him & his friends… pic.twitter.com/bHqVdKqhW5
— Jack Hazlewood (@JackHHazlewood) July 23, 2019
The phrase “Collusion between police and gangsters” is spray painted in black on the wall behind the tomb, which also bears the names of the couple’s children, including Junius. The names of Ho’s parents, meanwhile, are blacked out and their gravestones painted with vulgar Cantonese words.
The majority of those commenting on the photos on local forum LIHKG today reacted to the vandalism with glee.
“The scene that I’ve been looking forward to is finally here,” one said.
“This is so satisfying,” said another.
Users were quick to lay the true blame for the vandalism at the feet of the white-clad thugs who stormed Yuen Long MTR station on Sunday. Rumors also began circulating today that Ho had hired the thugs and failed to pay them, thus provoking revenge on his ancestors by the triads.
One of the spray painted messages at the gravesite reads “by Shing Wo,” appearing to assign responsibility for the desecration to one of the major triads in Hong Kong.
Reactions to the vandalism on Twitter were a bit more subdued.
“How this helps the larger cause is beyond me,” one user said. “Certainly made defending Ho easier for his supporters (by talking about issues like this instead of his actual actions).”
“Now you [are] becoming like them,” another said. “Such a wrong move…”
As of press time, Ho had not responded to the vandalism, but local lawmaker Kenneth Lau, who represents New Territories villagers addressed the issue after it was raised by a reporter in a press conference.
“If this is true, knowing Lawyer Ho’s personality, he would probably call the police,” Lau said with a chuckle. “Our people in the New Territories respect our ancestors very much. The perpetrator of this act needs to bear the legal consequences. This kind of behavior shouldn’t happen.”