Hong Kong activists Hendrick Lui and Wong Ka-ho were assaulted by a group of men after trying to intervene in a separate attack in Fanling on Sunday.
According to Lui’s Facebook live stream at around 5pm, the group had chased and beat a man who appeared to be in his 20s near Fanling MTR station, where Lui and Wong had set up a booth. The activists had been calling for citizens to join labour unions and register as voters in the upcoming legislative election.
The man had gotten into an argument with supporters of a street campaign organised by Alliance 23, Lui said. The campaign, led by pro-Beijing lawmaker Junius Ho, advocates the enactment of Article 23 of the Basic Law.
Article 23 stipulates that the Hong Kong government shall enact laws on its own to prohibit any act of treason, secession, sedition, subversion against the central government. An attempt to implement the legislation failed in 2003 following mass protests. Pro-democracy advocates fear it could stifle civil liberties.
Lui, Wong and a female assistant tried to stop the attack but were surrounded by more than 10 men. Lui, who wore a light orange t-shirt, was kicked, slapped and punched by the attackers. His phone was also smashed on the ground.
In a separate live stream after the attack, the activists showed their wounds to the camera. Lui’s head, hands and back were injured. Wong’s glasses were broken and he suffered more serious injuries in his eye, arm and back.
Wong and Lui both participated in the District Council election last November.
Police arrived at the scene after receiving reports of an attack, but the assailants had already left and no arrests were made. The case has been listed as assault and criminal damage. It is being followed up on by the Tai Po District criminal investigation team.
“We will not bow down to evil forces and violence. We will continue to hold street booths to promote the labour unions,” Lui said in a live stream outside the North District Hospital, where the group were being treated.
North Link HK, a group formed by seven North District councillors, condemned the attack. It accused police of failing to respond quickly and turning a blind eye to violence from Article 23 supporters.
“The incident has shown that police deliberately allow violence to be used against opposition groups, and facilitate the suppression of Hongkongers’ right to organise labour unions and express their political opinions. This cannot be tolerated,” the group wrote on Facebook.
Sunday’s incident marked the second time an assault has taken place near street counters set up by Alliance 23, formed by Beijing-friendly groups Politihk Social Strategic and New Territories Concern Group.
Last Wednesday, Sham Shui Po District Council Vice-chairperson Janet Ng was pushed to the ground when she approached an Alliance 23 street counter in Mei Foo. Her affiliated party, the Civic Party, later issued a statement to condemn the attack, saying violence would not deter its members from serving the public.