Demosisto lawmaker Nathan Law says that the attacks he suffered at the Hong Kong International Airport on Sunday were “coordinated” and “not isolated,” and that the Communist Party was likely behind the incident.
At a press conference on Monday afternoon held with Demosisto’s Joshua Wong and fellow legislators Edward Yiu Chung-yim and Eddie Chu Hoi-dick, Law said that the group had faced attacks throughout their trip to Taiwan. He said that there were dozens of protesters at the airport when Chu, Wong, and Law left Hong Kong. In Taiwan, they were continuously harassed by hundreds of demonstrators, including some who ran past the police cordons, threw rocks and eggs, as well as displayed banners reading “get out of Taiwan.”
The police in Taiwan stepped up their protection after the first day of the visit and Law was able to leave Taiwan without injury. Law thanked the New Power Party as well as the police.
“Even though I was escorted by airport security, they [the protesters] were able to get in between them and pull me out, kick me, punch me, and splash me with an unknown liquid,” Law said. “I sustained injuries and my clothes were torn.”
He said that the clothes can no longer be worn, which was “very environmentally unfriendly.” He apologised to the reporters who were also attacked at the scene.
Photographs presented by Law showed that he is now sporting a large red bruise near his neck, as well as multiple bruises on his limbs. “I would say the nature of the attack is quite serious,” he said.
‘Not an isolated attack’
Law said he believed the harassment and attacks during the trip were connected, as the slogans and manner of protest were similar. He speculated that the Chinese Communist Party was responsible and wanted to threaten those who upheld values of democracy and human rights.
The group also said that the protests were part of “a globalised network of China’s anti-democratic movement.”
“We must all recognise these criminal organisations… this is not an isolated attack, this is not the first year that the Leung Chun-ying administration has adopted gangster-like tactics,” Law added.
Law added that the group was not not pro-independence, but said that – no matter what their political views – they should not be subjected to physical attacks and such treatment. He said that they will continue to go on such trips in the future.
He added that, although he respected freedom of speech and association, he would not call the situation on Sunday a protest because “there was no room for communication… they just came to attack me. This is not how a civilised society should behave… it’s beyond the bottom line.”
The group said the police needed to conduct an assessment as to whether they provided adequate protection, especially since Yiu had notified them beforehand that there were protesters and that preparations should be made.
“[The Hong Kong police] were lazy and left Law to deal with the protesters. I think the circumstances are very suspicious – how could you allow an elected lawmaker to be in such close contact with people who are clearly intending to attack him?” Chu said.
“If I can be attacked at the airport, a place we consider safe, what guarantees do we have for our safety on the bus, the MTR and the streets, for those of us lawmakers and citizens who can become targets of assault?” Law asked.
Party condemns attacks
Law’s party also officially condemned the attacks by the pro-Beijing groups in a statement, calling the acts “totally not acceptable.”
“The government is responsible for protecting every citizens and elected public officers; and the normal communications between the civil societies of Hong Kong and Taiwan should not be suppressed by the regime,” Demosisto said in a statement on Monday afternoon.
“The regime firstly made use of the interpretation of the Basic Law to deprive the seats of pro-democratic legislative councillors, then tolerated physical violence against political dissidents. Confronting the suppression and violence, the democratic power of Hong Kong and Taiwan will not back down and will overcome challenges to work out our visions.”
The Hong Kong Journalists Association also condemned the incident, noting that a Now TV reporter and an i-Cable TV journalist were attacked, with both being sent to the hospital. The group urged the police to investigate the matter.
“We believe that all journalists engaged in normal reporting duties should be respected, and we call for peace and rationality in dealing with any difference in opinion, as well as respect for press freedom and the rights of journalists.”