Jimmy Sham Tsz-kit – convenor of Civil Human Rights Front that organized million-strong rallies in Hong Kong in June – was attacked in Kowloon on Wednesday night by at least four masked men wielding hammers and knives.
The attack happened just days before another large-scale march the group planned on Sunday, October 20.
Jimmy Sham was heading to a meeting in Mong Kok at 7.30pm when he was attacked by four to five masked men, said to be non-Chinese, with hammers and knives on Arran Lane.
Some staff from a nearby garage wanted to intervene but the culprits pointed knives at them.
The masked men attacked Sham for about 10 seconds then fled. They ran to a black private car on another street and left.
Photos posted online showed Sham lying near a parked white vehicle, covered in blood from his head and arms. He was conscious when sent to Kwong Wah Hospital and in stable condition after getting his wounds stitched up.
A witness surnamed Cheung said she saw at least four men attacked Sham. One held a hammer while another held a one-foot-long knife, Ming Pao Daily reported.
Another witness surnamed Mok said he and the garage staff called the police.
This is the second time in less than two months that Sham has been targeted. In late August, Sham and friends were attacked by masked men with a baseball bat and knives while having lunch in a restaurant in Jordan. He escaped unhurt and police later arrested three men over the incident.
The Civil Human Rights Front strongly condemned the attack, saying it was intended to spread fear.
The group organized a number of huge marches in June that drew up to two million Hong Kongers on to the streets. The group advocated peaceful marches and no violence.
Police believed the attack on Wednesday night was planned as the seven-seat black vehicle was driving around the area several times before the attack occurred. They classed the case as ‘wounding’.
Over the past four months, at least seven people from the pro-democracy camp or those advocating local control of Hong Kong have been attacked.
Other victims include Democratic Party lawmakers Lam Cheuk-ting and Roy Kwong Chun-yu, Max Chung Kin-ping, who organized a lawful march in Yuen Long, Ronald Leung Kam-shing, the convener of the North District Parallel Imports Concern Group, and Ho Wai-hong, a Labour Party member.
The culprits included South Asian men and suspected local gangsters.
The pro-democracy camp also strongly condemned the attack.
Tanya Chan, the convenor of the pan-democratic camp, described the latest attack on Sham as “uncivilized” and questioned why a group which advocates peaceful and lawful protests could warrant such treatment.
She questioned whether people were stirring up more chaos to give the government an excuse to postpone or cancel the upcoming district council election.
Lawmaker Claudia Mo said she believed the assault was meant to send a chilling effect – to warn people to think twice before taking part in peaceful protests on the streets.
Dr Chung Kam-wah, a Polytechnic University lecturer and political commentator, said the public would be angered by the attack and it might spur chaotic scenes during the protest. That could give Chief Executive Carrie Lam an excuse to invoke the Emergency Regulations Ordinance again to cancel the election.
The idea of postponing or canceling the district council election surfaced as social unrest continues and violence has escalated in recent weeks. The pro-establishment camp had urged Lam to ensure a fair election.
District Council elections are held every four years and are scheduled for November 24. Sham is a candidate in the ballot in Shatin.
Meanwhile, a Norwegian MP nominated the people of Hong Kong for next year’s Nobel peace prize, RTHK reported.
Guri Melby, a Liberal Party politician in Oslo, who recently visited Hong Kong, said Hong Kong people “risk their lives and security every day to stand up for freedom of speech and basic democracy”.
She hoped the move will further encourage the ongoing movement. Melby said on social media that the actions of Hong Kong people are reverberating far beyond the city – they affect the region and the entire world.
She hoped protesters will continue the fight in a non-violent way.