The Civil Human Rights Front has called on supporters not to think about revenge attacks after their convenor Jimmy Sham Tze-kit was attacked by gangsters armed with hammers and knives.
The group is concerned that ethnic minority citizens may be at risk because South Asian men were allegedly involved in the attack on Sham in Mong Kok on Wednesday night.
Sham spoke to the press at Kwong Wah Hospital on Thursday while sitting in a wheelchair with bandages over wounds on his head. He said he could not see the attackers clearly as he was covering his face for protection during the assault.
Sham said the root cause of the attack was the lack of a response from the government to the five demands of protesters, so people should target the system and not bring ethnicity into the picture.
Jimmy Sham speaks to media at the hospital. Photo: RTHK
The appeal came after police said that the attackers were believed to be non-Chinese.
A call then surfaced on social media urging people to besiege places where non-Chinese like to gather or to damage Chungking Mansions in Tsim Sha Tsui or mosques.
Muhammad Arshad, Chief Imam of Kowloon Mosque and Islamic Center, and the Incorporated Trustees of the Islamic Community Fund of Hong Kong sent an email to the Front on Thursday to express their sympathies to Sham. They condemned the “barbaric and brutal attack” on him, according to a statement posted on the Front’s Facebook page.
The Islamic Community Fund said in a statement that the attack was an attempt to create a division in society.
They said the Muslim community of Hong Kong had a long peaceful history for more than 200 years. They would to stand with the people of Hong Kong and continue to strive to maintain an atmosphere of equality, peace and harmony in the city.
A group of 20 people from a Pakistani group in Hong Kong went to the hospital with a fruit basket to visit Sham on Thursday afternoon, saying they represented ethnic minority groups in the city. A spokesperson said most of the ethnic minorities in Hong Kong were not involved in violence, but conceded that a small number of asylum-seekers might be. They condemned any form of violence, Apple Daily reported.
Meanwhile, some citizens made an appeal on LIHKG, a local Reddit-like discussion forum, for people not to target ethnic minorities in the city. They quickly designed a bilingual poster, stating that protesters would not damage any mosques or Chungking Mansions, a residential building in Kowloon which has the cheapest accommodation in the city.
They also invited South Asian people to join the protest on Sunday, and discussed whether some protesters should be sent to guard Chungking Mansions and mosques, saying any strategy to divert attention from the government would not succeed.
Sham, who organized several large-scale rallies in June, which attracted millions of Hong Kongers to the streets, a number of wounds on his head but no bone fractures. He is now in a stable condition and staying in hospital for observation. He will not attend the Front’s rally in Tsim Sha Tsui on Sunday.
This was the second assault on Sham in two months. He was assaulted in Jordan in August by two masked men armed with a baseball bat and knives.
The Civil Human Rights Front called on citizens to take part in the anti-government march in Tsim Sha Tsui on Sunday to show that they won’t be scared or silenced by such assaults.
They also want to reiterate the five demands that people have been asking the government to undertake since June, and to abolish the anti-mask law and reorganize the police force.
Meanwhile, the police rejected an application on Friday to allow the march, so the front plans to lodge an appeal against that decision.
However, in recent weeks, protesters have still joined rallies and taken to the streets even without permission to stage rallies.