A 24-year-old man has been jailed for six years and four months after he stabbed a then-19-year-old in the neck and stomach near the “Lennon Wall” pro-democracy message board in Tai Po.

Liu Guosheng, a chef who lives in Guangxi, China, was originally charged with attempted murder. Following a plea bargain, Liu admitted to causing bodily harm with intent.

A pedestrian subway in Tai Po was converted into a large-scale Lennon Wall. The words read “Lennon Tunnel.” Photo: Kris Cheng/HKFP.

High Court judge Andrew Chan delivered the sentencing on Friday, and said that the victim has to suffer from the harm for his entire life, especially the psychological trauma, and that the victim had contemplated suicide, InMedia reported.

Liu attacked the victim, who was then a secondary school student, in October, 2019, after he saw that the student was giving out leaflets near the Lennon Wall.

According to footage of the scene, Liu, who came to Hong Kong on a Two Way Permit, shouted: “Listen, you useless Hong Kong youth, Hong Kong is a part of China, and I will go against whoever disrupts Hong Kong” after the attack.

InMedia also reported that, after Liu handed himself to the police, he told officers that “I can’t stand these people destroying Hong Kong, that’s why I slashed him with a knife”

‘Violent incident with no benefits’

Chan said that the case was one of the “many violent incidents with no benefit” in 2019, and that regardless of people’s political views, the use of violence must be condemned, Stand News reported.

The judge added that violent incidents cannot resolve political disputes, and that they would only escalate conflict and cause casualties.

The suspected assailant in Tai Po spotted before and after the attack. Photo: online.

During the anti-extradition bill protests in 2019, pro-democracy protesters created “Lennon Walls” community message boards, where they post colourful notices and hand out political leaflets.

The Lennon Wall in Tai Po was considered to be one of the largest and most extensively decorated in Hong Kong. Some have called it a “Lennon Tunnel,” since it covered nearly the entire surface of the subway near the Tai Po Market MTR station.

In 2019, Hong Kong saw its most turbulent months since the Handover, after a government-proposed bill to allow fugitives to be extradited to mainland China sparked mass protests in the city.

Protests often turned into violent clashes between protesters and the police. Beijing inserted national security legislation directly into Hong Kong’s mini-constitution – bypassing the local legislature – a year later.

It criminalised subversion, secession, foreign interference and terrorist acts, which were broadly defined to include disruption to public transport and other infrastructure. The move gave police sweeping new powers, alarming democrats, civil society groups and trade partners, as such laws have been used broadly to silence and punish dissidents in China.

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Candice Chau

Candice is a reporter at Hong Kong Free Press. She previously worked as a researcher at a local think tank. She has a BSocSc in Politics and International Relations from the University of Manchester and a MSc in International Political Economy from London School of Economics.