Protesters prey on the weak and old

Central Station | Nury Vittachi 24 Jun 2019

A colleague showed me a phone video of former justice secretary Elsie Leung Oi-sie being screamed at by angry masked protesters as she walked through Pacific Place.

I was never a fan of hers, but had to feel sorry to watch a tiny little old lady being abused by scary men who seemed close to violence.

"These folks acted like red guards in the Cultural Revolution," my shocked colleague said.

Extremists at one end of the political spectrum are just as bad as extremists at the opposite end.

The irony gets worse.

In the entire period of demonstrations in the Tamar area there were countless cries about how evil mainland China was oppressing and killing Hong Kong, one reader pointed out.

"Nobody seemed to notice that the People's Liberation Army base in Hong Kong is also in the middle of Tamar - and in fact was the one spot which was a calm oasis of peace the whole time!" he said.

I bet the soldiers were watching, amazed.

* * *

Not that I have any love for the PLA, having been intimidated by them in Shanghai once for just taking a photograph.

The Hong Kong PLA are quite impressive, not like the ones up north, whose clothes seem to come in only two sizes: "Too Big" and "Too Small".

* * *

The stream of conspiracy theories about the protests never end.

My favorite of the latest batch says that a cluster of super-rich mainland China businessmen said to be staying at the Four Seasons hotel in Hong Kong are the real target of the extradition law, but they used their cash and connections to whip up opposition, eventually getting it cancelled.

Sounds unlikely, but might make a good movie.

* * *

The truth about the extradition law may be more mundane. Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam has been saying that they introduced the extradition law after being urged to do so by the international community.

One reader even tracked down the document and sent me the relevant bit. The G7's Financial Action Task Force report refers to "formal arrangements for extradition between Hong Kong, Macao and Mainland China" and says: "It is recommended that these arrangements be concluded as a matter of priority."

* * *

In other news, Twitter carried a video clip of mega-rich boxer Floyd Mayweather in the Ngong Ping cable car on Friday. There's a glorious view of Hong Kong in all four directions - but he never once looks up from the device in his hand.

* * *

Sharp-eyed reader John Campbell sent in the pictured signpost photographed in the mainland. Readers of Chinese will know they should stay clear of the water, but English-only readers are instructed to do the opposite. Not deliberately, I hope.

* * *

Doctors said they found a suspected case of the MERS virus in Hong Kong on Saturday. OH NO! That means the camel public announcement tape loop will be reinstated at Chek Lap Kok airport.

Every time I picked up a visitor at the airport last year, we had the same conversation.

Recorded public announcement: "Remember to avoid all contact with camels, birds and other."

VISITOR: "Hong Kong has camels?"

ME: "No."

* * *

But back to the increasingly worrying protests. Every time I turn to the politics pages of the newspapers these days I find myself saying: "What fresh hell is this?"

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