Pro-Beijing politician hurt in Hong Kong knife attack
Hong Kong: A firebrand pro-Beijing politician in Hong Kong was wounded in a knife attack on Wednesday, the latest tit-for-tat political violence to break out in a city engulfed by seething pro-democracy protests.
The stabbing came as the city's unpopular leader Carrie Lam said her resolve to crack down on the protesters had been bolstered by a recent meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
The international finance hub has been convulsed by five months of huge and increasingly violent protests calling for greater democratic freedoms and police accountability.
With Beijing and Lam refusing to offer a political solution to the protesters' grievances, violence has spiralled on both sides of the ideological divide.
In the latest incident a man holding a bouquet approached pro-Beijing lawmaker Junius Ho on Wednesday morning as the politician was campaigning in his constituency of Tuen Mun, a town on the outskirts of Hong Kong near the border with China.
Footage posted online showed the man handing Ho the flowers and asking for a picture. He then pulled a knife from his bag before striking his victim in the chest.
Police said three people were wounded in the incident, including the attacker, who was subdued by Ho's aides as he shouted in Cantonese: "Junius Ho, you scum!" A police source, who declined to be named, told AFP that Ho received a stab wound to the left side of his chest and the attacker was arrested.
Ho, 57, was conscious when he got into the ambulance. His bloodstained white shirt and wound dressings could be seen on the ground in the aftermath of the attack.
The stabbing came as Lam wrapped up a series of talks in mainland China with top Communist Party officials, including President Xi who threw his support behind the beleaguered leader when they met on Monday, according to state media.
"President Xi's trust and support to me and the Hong Kong government has strengthened our resolve to stop the violence and curb the chaos," she said on Wednesday as she met in Beijing with Vice Premier Han Zheng.
China has run the city under a special "one country, two systems" model, allowing Hong Kong liberties not seen on the mainland, since its handover from the British in 1997.
But public anger has been building for years over fears that Beijing has begun eroding those freedoms, especially since Xi came to power.
Protesters have issued a list of demands, including universal suffrage and an investigation into abuses by police.
Beijing has shown no willingness to meet demonstrators' demands and recently signalled it plans to tighten its control over Hong Kong following a four-day meeting of party leaders.
Protesters show no sign of leaving the streets with 22 consecutive weekends of unrest while fights have broken out with growing frequency.
Beijing supporters have attacked opponents throughout the summer, often in targeted assaults against prominent government critics and opposition politicians.
Eight pro-democracy figures have been attacked, including protest organiser Jimmy Sham who was hospitalised last month by men wielding hammers.