Monday, 15 February 2016

Greater Divisions in Hong Kong

The reverberations of last Monday's violence can still be felt
After Beijing issued its statement branding the "rioters" in Mongkok as "separatists", several people in Hong Kong have come out denouncing the protesters using similar language.

Former Hong Kong security chief Ambrose Lee Siu-kwong said the young people involved in last Monday's violence were not rational, saying "they will be very easily instigated. It's like being drugged".

Speaking on a radio interview, Lee added, "You have to wonder why the future stewards of our society, our young people seem to have... lost their sense of reason."

Ambrose Lee likens the protesters to "beasts"
He referred to scenes of some protesters throwing objects at wounded policeman, saying attacking "a dog lying on the ground" would be unconscionable to many, much less attacking a person. To do so, he said, was "like you have lost your conscience and become like a beast".

"What has turned them from young people with aspirations into beasts? We should think about this," he said.

Hmmm interesting question, Mr Lee. When people feel like the odds are against them, that they have no hope of ever achieving social mobility, or financial security then maybe their frustrations turn to what they think is the only route of violence? Not that I condone what they did, but for them, this was perhaps their act of desperation.

However Lee didn't fan the flames as much as outspoken lawyer and district councillor Junius Ho Kwan-yiu.

On a Radio Television Hong Kong's televised City Forum debate, he said the officers were "too restrained".

Junius Ho says police would be justified in killing rioters
"Police used shotguns [during the 1967 riots]... To maintain public order and for self-protection, [police officers] have to take any necessary actions," Ho said.

When asked whether he believed police would have been justified in killing city residents, Ho replied: "It would not be killing Hong Kong people. It would be killing rioters."


What are people like Lee and Ho trying to prove? Are they also interested in earning Beijing's favour? In the case of Lee, he is one of Hong Kong's 36 local deputies to the National People's Congress.

And the latest is that the policeman in charge of handling the Mongkok riot operations will likely chair the review of what happened on February 8, which one can already imagine will hardly be impartial. Even some police unions do not agree with the apparent choice of Alan Lau Yip-shing, director of operations.

Do we really need to further fan the flames of division in the city? Can nothing be looked at objectively anymore?

Creating greater rifts is the last thing we need now...

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