Hong Kong’s Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng was heckled and jostled by protesters in London as she travelled to attend an event. Her arm was injured when she fell, according to the government.

Cheng was in the UK capital on Thursday to give a lecture at the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators at Bloomsbury Square. But when trying to enter the venue, protesters – many from Hong Kong and speaking Cantonese – heckled her.

Teresa Cheng
Teresa Cheng falling onto the ground. Photo: Screenshot/Chloe Leung.

“Murderer! murderer! Shame on you!” they chanted. “Five demands not one less!”

The crowd shone flashlights at Cheng, apparently imitating a common practice by the Hong Kong police of shining lights at protesters and the press to inhibit their vision. During the encounter, Cheng fell on the ground.

Large-scale protests in Hong Kong, initially over a now-withdrawn extradition agreement proposal with mainland China, have entered their 24th week. The demonstrations have morphed into wider calls for democratic reform and accountability for alleged police brutality.

Alex Chow Tsz-lok, a 22-year-old student of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, died after falling near a police clearance operation. The circumstances around his fall remain unclear. Police have denied any involvement in his death.

According to the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, Cheng’s arm was injured in the encounter. The event was subsequently cancelled.

“[The Chartered Institute of Arbitrators] is committed to peacefully resolving conflict and deplores the use of violence, particularly to a guest to the United Kingdom,” the institute said in a statement.

Cheng condemned the protesters in a government statement.

“The Secretary for Justice castigates the violent mob in London today (November 14, London time) causing her serious bodily harm on her way to an event venue. The Secretary immediately made a report to the London Police and requested the Police to take the case seriously and put the culprits to justice,” it read.

“The Secretary denounces all forms of violence and radicalism depriving others’ legitimate rights in the pretext of pursuing their political ideals, which would never be in the interest of Hong Kong and any civilised society.”

Teresa Cheng
Teresa Cheng. Photo: Screenshot/Chloe Leung.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam has also expressed outrage at the attack.

“Pointing out that the attack was barbaric and violated the principles of a civilised society, Mrs Lam said the act should be strongly condemned. She expressed hope that the local police will follow up on the case thoroughly to bring the offenders to justice,” a statement read.

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Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.