A popular pro-democracy lawmaker has been sent to hospital after allegedly being attacked outside a park in the New Territories this morning.
In a hastily convened live-streamed press conference, members of the Democratic Party told reporters that Legislative Councillor Roy Kwong was punched and kicked by three men in a car park near Wetland Park in Tin Shui Wai at 10am.
Fellow lawmaker Lam Cheuk-ting told reporters that Kwong told him in a brief phone conversation that he had been kicked in the neck, and that one of the assailants had filmed the attack.
Kwong has reported the incident to the police, and was taken to Tin Shui Wai Hospital via ambulance shortly after the incident.
Lam called the attack “planned and pre-meditated,” and said it wasn’t the first time that members of the Democratic Party and other pro-democracy activists have been targeted, pointing to incidents that took place this month and last month, which saw the homes and offices of some pro-democracy politicians and activists splashed with red paint.
Lam said that he believed the attack was to “try to send a message to threaten all the legislative councilors of the democratic camps and the other organizations and participants of the anti-evil law movement,” he said, referring to the controversial extradition bill that kicked off the months of protests and has since been withdrawn.
“We Hong Kong people will never back down, we will stand firm to say no to such kinds of brutal attacks, and we strongly condemn the brutality, and urge the police force to take public action to protect all Hong Kong people, especially those activists and councillors of the democratic camp.”
Lam was also joined by fellow Democratic Party lawmaker James To, who expressed concerns that the attack was filmed and could be a paid job, and urged anyone with information to come forward.
To described the timing of the attack as “quite sensitive,” given that it took place just more than a week ahead of a planned rally for National Day on Oct. 1. The annual march, which typically goes from Victoria Park in Causeway Bay to Admiralty, is widely expected to be banned by police this year.
“Roy Kwong is the most popular legislator,” said To, pointing to the fact that Kwong won almost half a million votes in the 2016 Legislative Council elections, the largest number won by a single candidate.
“Beating the most popular legislator is sending quite an alarming signal to Hong Kong and the whole world that Hong Kong is no longer a place with the rule of law,” To said.
Kwong spoke to reporters briefly outside Tin Shui Wai Hospital at 3pm, where he revealed the attack lasted less than a minute, and a passerby came to his aid and called for help.
He said: “As a lawmaker for Hong Kong people, it is our duty to protect Hong Kong people. If we are attacked for protecting civilians, students and residents, then it is an international scandal.”
Kwong, a social worker and romance novelist-turned-politician who was the subject of a recent BBC Chinese profile, is at-times referred to as “Kwong God” by supporters and has been a frequent presence at protest sites, trying to diffuse tensions between police and front-line protesters.
He was also one of those who rushed to Admiralty to try and talk down a man from jumping off Pacific Place Mall in June.