Hong Kong crackdown coming?
Protester shot; man set on fire; leader says time to end violence
HONG KONG — Following a day of violence in which one person was shot by police and another set on fire, Hong Kong’s leader pledged Monday to “spare no effort” to halt anti-government protests that have wracked the city for more than five months.
The comments by Carrie Lam are likely to fuel speculation that harsher legal and police measures may be in the works.
“I do not want to go into details, but I just want to make it very clear that we will spare no effort in finding ways and means that could end the violence in Hong Kong as soon as possible,” Lam told reporters.
Lam also refused to accept the protesters’ demands for political concessions.
“If there is still any wishful thinking that, by escalating violence, the Hong Kong SAR government will yield to pressure to satisfy the socalled political demands, I am making this statement clear and loud here: That will not happen,” Lam said, using the initials for Special Administrative Region, which describes the city’s status as a semi-autonomous Chinese territory.
“These rioters’ actions have far exceeded their demands, and they are enemies of the people,” she said.
Following Lam’s comments, confrontations between protesters and police continued into the night, with black-clad demonstrators torching at least one vehicle and blocking an intersection in the Mongkok district that has been the scene of many clashes. A taxi driver was taken away by ambulance with head wounds, although it wasn’t immediately clear how he had been injured.
The violence is likely to further inflame passions in Hong Kong after a university student who fell from a parking garage during an earlier protest succumbed Friday to his injuries and police arrested six pro-democracy lawmakers over the weekend on charges of obstructing the local assembly during a raucous May 11 meeting. All were freed on bail.
Few details were available about the burning incident in the Ma On Shan neighborhood. Video posted online shows the victim arguing with a group of young people before someone douses him with a liquid and strikes a lighter. The man was reported in critical condition.