Punches fly as tempers flare at Lennon walls

Top News | Charlotte Luo 12 Jul 2019

Two retired police officers and a third man have been arrested for assaulting people defending "Lennon walls" in two separate clashes, a source says.

Several youths were organizing notes on a wall near exit A of Yau Tong MTR Station on Wednesday night when dozens of people arrived to remove the notes and shouted at the protesters.

The verbal squabbles escalated into clashes and police officers moved in to separate the crowd, which had grown to about 300 by 11.15pm.

Among the crowd was a 33-year-old man who said he was assaulted by a 56-year-old former police officer outside Yau Tong Station at about 11pm. The man was arrested and later released on bail.

Police also received a report from a 17-year-old man at 11.15pm saying he was attacked at the station earlier.

Police arrested a former police officer, aged 57, who was released unconditionally after the teen decided not to press charges.

In a separate clash a few hours later, a 46-year-old man named Wong, believed to be a taxi driver, was arrested for punching two men aged 36 and 65 who tried to defend a "Lennon wall" outside Amoy Gardens in Kowloon Bay.

A video that has gone viral shows a man punching another man in the face repeatedly on a pedestrian walkway where colorful Post-it notes were on the wall.

The victim was a taekwondo black belt, Mak, who took the punches with his hands behind his back until he was knocked to the ground.

Asked why he did not defend himself, Mak said he did not do so as he could hurt the attacker.

Wong was also alleged to have attacked a 65-year-old man, named Lee, earlier under the pedestrian walkway facing 77 Ngau Tau Kok Road.

Wong was arrested and later charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

Mak was injured in his mouth and hands while Lee had facial injuries. Both men were sent to United Christian Hospital for treatment.

"Lennon walls" have been put up across Hong Kong, where people write down their thoughts on notes and post them on the wall to support the anti-extradition bill movement.

Pro-democracy lawmakers yesterday condemned the assaults, saying that people were just expressing their views peacefully.

Claudia Mo Man-ching said Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor should not tolerate the attacks, while Gary Fan Kwok-wai asked young people to protect themselves when caught in clashes.

Netizens took social media platform to express their views.

"The meaning of these walls is to allow people in despair know they are not alone," Sean Chan posted on Facebook. "So just be compassionate and stop tearing them down."

Cherry Chan wrote: ''Respected (Mak). And so shame on the one who hit others. Most of all, shame of Ms Carrie Lam to make our society to tear apart like this by her 'excellent' administration."

Alexander Prinz wrote on Facebook: "Hats off to the young man (Mak) who's been holding his head for everybody."

charlotte.luo@singtaonewscorp.com

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