Hong Kong’s new security minister has slammed the stabbing of a police officer on the city’s Handover anniversary as a “lone wolf local terrorist act,” claiming that the suspect who died after knifing himself had been “radicalised.”

Secretary for Security Chris Tang and Commissioner of Police Raymond Siu visited the 28-year-old injured officer at Queen Mary Hospital in the early hours on Friday. The Police Tactical Unit officer was stabbed in his left shoulder blade outside the Sogo mall in Causeway Bay on Thursday, as Hong Kong marked 24 years since its Handover to China.

Chris Tang
Chris Tang meets the press outside Queen Mary Hospital on July 2, 2021. Photo: RTHK screenshot.

The attack left the officer with a 10-centimetre-deep wound and a lung injury, according to Tang, who was appointed to head the Security Bureau last week after leading the police force since November 2019. Local media reported on Friday that the policeman was in a serious condition.

The security chief said the case was labelled as an attempted murder, and there was no evidence at present that indicated the 50-year-old suspect had any accomplice. The male attacker was pronounced dead at 11.20 p.m. on Thursday at Ruttonjee Hospital, after he stabbed himself in his chest following the assault with the same knife.

“Based on our preliminary investigation, we believe that it is a lone wolf local terrorist attack,” Tang told reporters outside the hospital.

police officer stabbed
A police officer is on the ground after he was stabbed outside Sogo mall in Causeway Bay on July 1, 2021. Photo: Ryan Lai/CitizenNews.

Tang said that, apart from the assailant, “many others who encourage violence and incite hatred” should also be blamed for the stabbing. He accused some people of stirring hatred against society and the country, as well as lionising violent behaviour.

“Apart from the attacker, there are people behind him with blood all over their hands,” the security minister said.

“[F]rom the objects found in [the suspect’s] home, including computers, show that he was divided and radicalised to become a lone wolf attack[er],” he added.

Police arrested at least 19 people on Thursday in Causeway Bay, Tin Hau, Mong Kok and Wong Tai Sin. The force also issued tickets to 19 people for allegedly breaching the Covid-19 public gathering restrictions.

‘The public abhor violence’

Upon returning from Beijing on late Thursday evening, Chief Executive Carrie Lam strongly condemned the attack on the police officer. The city’s leader said at a press briefing at the airport that she was concerned about incidents on the Handover anniversary that undermined public order.

Carrie Lam
Carrie Lam meet s the press at the airport on July 1, 2021. Photo: RTHK screenshot.

“Such behaviour was obviously directed at social stability and neglected law and order. In Hong Kong’s society today, everyone cherishes peace that was hard-earned. [The attack] was very regrettable,” Lam said.

She cited the hurling of inflammables at the Government House, desecration of the national flag, possession of offensive weapon, distribution of seditious publications.

A government statement said that – according to Lam – “members of the public abhor violence and treasure very much the stability of society since the implementation of the national security law last year.”

Lam was in Beijing to attend celebrations of the Chinese Communist Party’s centenary. Chinese leader Xi Jinping warned on Thursday any foreign forces that had the “delusions” to “bully, oppress or enslave” the people of China, would “crack their heads and spill blood on a Great Wall of steel build by the blood and flesh of 14 billion Chinese people.”

If you are experiencing negative feelings, please call: The Samaritans 2896 0000 (24-hour, multilingual), Suicide Prevention Centre 2382 0000 or the Social Welfare Department 2343 2255. The Hong Kong Society of Counselling and Psychology provides a WhatsApp hotline in English and Chinese: 6218 1084. See also: HKFP’s comprehensive guide to mental health services in Hong Kong.

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Kelly Ho has an interest in local politics, education and sports. She formerly worked at South China Morning Post Young Post, where she specialised in reporting on issues related to Hong Kong youth. She has a bachelor's degree in Journalism from the University of Hong Kong, with a second major in Politics and Public Administration.