Lam dismisses accusations of collusion with Yuen Long thugs

Top News | Phoenix Un 23 Jul 2019

Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said law enforcers would not have colluded with Yuen Long white-shirt attackers, and that the government would steer clear from any violent acts.

She dismissed as "groundless" allegations that the government and the police turned a blind eye while triad members were beating civilians in Yuen Long on Sunday.

Lam held the press conference at 3pm in the Chief Executive's Office along with 14 secretaries and Commissioner of Police Stephen Lo Wai-chung.

"Of course the law enforcers wouldn't stand alongside violent assailants , and we will stay clear of them," Lam said.

"Any allegations that I, the SAR government, the commissioner of police and his colleagues colluded with the violent attackers are completely groundless, and I believe it's just an attempt to weaken the governance of the SAR government."

Police chief Lo also rejected the allegation and any relationship with the attackers. "We stand on the opposite side of all law breakers, let alone triads. We are irreconcilable."

Lam first condemned protesters for besieging the Liaison Office on Sunday night. "They even vandalized the national emblem, openly challenged the country's sovereignty, touched the bottom line of one country, two systems and hurt the national pride," Lam said.

On the Yuen Long attackers, she said: "These attackers had no respect of the law, and attacked citizens and railway passengers, which raised people's hackles, and we won't tolerate and indulge them."

She offered her sympathy to those injured, including a reporter who was beaten up.

"Violence cannot solve any problem, as violence will only give rise to even more violence, and it will be the Hong Kong society and all citizens who suffer. I hereby call for all sectors and all citizens to defend the rule of law and say no to violence."

Many had accused the government of colluding with triads as the white-shirt thugs targeted people wearing black - the dress code of anti-fugitive bill protesters - and the delayed response by police to calls for help.

As Lam did not address the question directly, dissatisfied reporters shouted their questions.

"I am very worried, whether Hong Kong will still be the society of rule of law that we are proud of, whether citizens' daily lives are protected and whether police can still protect our citizens as they have to be exhausted on several days every week," Lam said.

She said she delayed the press briefing because she had to learn from the police commissioner as to what happened in Yuen Long.

"We want to explain to society about every issue, but you should also allow us to make a comprehensive explanation when we know more about the incident," she said.

On why she prioritized the liaison office incident before the Yuen Long attack in her remarks, Lam said: "It's important that Hong Kong citizens' daily lives are protected, but I believe all citizens will agree that the successful implementation of one country, two systems is ... even the most important thing."

She also said she would not characterize the Yuen Long violence as a riot in order to prevent anxiety and misunderstanding.

Secretary for Security John Lee Ka-chiu said the level of violence among anti-fugitive bill protesters' had been escalating, from bricks and iron rods to poisonous chemicals and petrol bombs.

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