Fri, Oct 18, 2019 - Page 1 News List

Lam forced from HK legislature as lawmakers protest

AP, HONG KONG

Security personnel attempt to escort Hong Kong Legislator Lam Cheuk-ting, center, from the Hong Kong Legislative Council yesterday.

Photo: AFP

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam (林鄭月娥) yesterday was again forced from the Hong Kong Legislative Council because of protests by opposition members following a bloody attack on a leader of the protest movement.

Lawmakers shouted and waved placards depicting Lam with bloodied hands, prompting their removal by guards and the suspension of proceedings.

A day earlier, Lam was forced to abandon an annual policy address in the chamber, later delivering it on television.

Disruption in the chamber and the attack on Wednesday on Civil Human Rights Front leader Jimmy Sham (岑子傑) by assailants wielding hammers and knives marked the latest dramatic turn in the unrest that has rocked the territory since June.

Prior to her departure yesterday, Lam reiterated that her “first priority” was ending the violence that has dealt a body blow to the local economy as well as Hong Kong’s reputation as a safe, law-abiding center for finance and business with a sophisticated independent judiciary.

Lam said she was working with the territory’s 180,000 public servants and transport authorities to restore order, although that task was made harder by members of the public sympathetic to the cause of the protesters.

However, she was forced to withdraw amid calls for her resignation, with Hong Kong Legislator Claudia Mo (毛孟靜) shouting, “Carrie Lam, you are a liar.”

Sham has been one of the public faces of the protest movement as a leader of the front, which has organized large demonstrations.

He was on his way to an evening meeting in Kowloon when four or five attackers pounced on him, leaving him with bloody head injuries but conscious, the Front said on Facebook.

It said that the assault was politically motivated, linked “to a spreading political terror in order to threaten and inhibit the legitimate exercise of natural and legal rights.”

Mo and other opposition legislators yesterday said that the attack on Sham might have been designed to frighten others away from protesting, or even to help provide a pretext for the government to call-off district council elections next month.

“We can’t help but feel that this entire thing is part of a plan to shed blood on Hong Kong’s peaceful protests,” Mo was quoted as telling Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK). “If you think you’re being peaceful and you’re safe, you’re not.”

Sham spent the night in hospital and his wounds to the head and an arm were not considered life threatening, RTHK said.

The assailants escaped in a vehicle and their identities remained unknown

Meanwhile, in Beijing, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Geng Shuang (耿爽) called for foreign governments not to interfere in its affairs, after a Norwegian politician nominated the “people of Hong Kong” for next year’s Nobel Peace Prize.

“Hong Kong affairs are purely China’s internal affairs and no foreign government or individuals have the right to interfere,” Geng told a news briefing.

Geng called for the “relevant people to be objective and just” as well as “cautious.”

“I have nominated the people of Hong Kong, who risk their lives and security every day to stand up for freedom of speech and basic democracy, to the Nobel Peace Prize for 2020,” Guri Melby, a member of Norway’s parliament, said on Twitter on Tuesday.

In an interview published by the Aftenposten on Wednesday, Melby added: “What they do has an impact far beyond Hong Kong, both in the region and in the rest of the world.”

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