The leader of one of the biggest pro-democracy groups in Hong Kong was viscously attacked by unidentified men on Oct. 16, ahead of a march planned for the weekend.
It was the second such attack on Jimmy Sham, head of the Civil Human Rights Front (CHRF), since protests escalated in the Asian financial hub in mid-June and which, photographs on social media showed, left him in a pool of blood on the street.
As many as five masked men wearing black attacked Sham with hammers and knives for more than 10 seconds in the Mong Kok district on the Kowloon peninsula, police said later during the day of the attack.
A tweet by CHRF several hours after the assault said that Sham was in a stable condition in hospital.
“Staff working at a nearby garage had tried to intervene and stop the attack but were threatened at knifepoint. The perpetrators then boarded a seven-seater car after the attack and fled,” said the CHRF via Twitter.
Sham was enroute to a CHRF meeting when attacked.
Lo Cheuk Fung, from the Justice and Peace Commission of the Hong Kong Diocese which is a member of the CHRF, told UCA News he arrived at the scene of not long after the attack occurred.
“We saw Jimmy lying on the ground. He was conscious enough to describe his injuries and what happened,” Lo said.
The CHRF, which organized the million-strong marches in June, plans a march on Sunday in the neighboring district of Kowloon, but authorities have not yet confirmed it will be permitted.
Jackie Hung, a project officer with the Justice and Peace Commission, told UCA News that it’s clear the attack was planned and was targeting the CHRF.
“Someone or some organization is trying to threaten pro-democracy leaders and are trying to stop people attending the coming Sunday march,” Hung said.
“But the attack will only provoke more opposition against the government,” she said. “People do not have trust and faith on the police and government anyway.”
The attack comes after the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill late on Oct. 16 aimed at defending civil rights in Hong Kong following the protests. It also passed a related bill that would halt exports of some crowd control items to Hong Kong.
The pro-Beijing administration of embattled Chief Executive Carrie Lam has struggled to resolve the protests sparked in June by a now dropped bill to allow extradition of suspects to mainland China. The protests have since broadened into a push for improved economic equality and greater democracy.