Fear stalks our city of violence

Editorial | Mary Ma 25 Sep 2019

If it is alarming to see violence escalating in Hong Kong, but it's even worse to see hatred spreading quickly to pitch people against people.

I never thought Hong Kong would ever plunge into such a lawless state.

Startlingly, radicals - whether wearing black or white - have been relentless in seeking to justify their wrongful acts with all sorts of charming slogans from self-defense claims to so-called patriotism.

Let's be clear: it's unacceptable for anyone to take the law into their own hands whether they're from the black or white or, indeed, in uniforms.

For the first time since the 1967 leftist riots, people are feeling so insecure that they're fearful of going out on weekends and family gatherings are being postponed because nobody is certain if they could return home safely as incidents may break out without warning.

That is not the place we know. Black protesters must stop throwing petrol bombs and attacking people critical of them; self-proclaimed white patriots must stop responding to mainland media rants to take the law into own hands to assault the young; and police must stop kicking "yellow objects" in dark alleyways.

All these are extra-judicial acts that have to be condemned forcefully by the civilized world.

No matter what they are called - black or white terror - they are under the same category. If given a blind eye, they will rip apart our right to freedom from fear.

There has been a marked increase in violent incidents since the white terror attack in Yuen Long station on July 21. On the past weekend in Yuen Long, several men in their middle-ages were surrounded and beaten up by violent protesters partly due to opposite political views.

Although one of the victims had reportedly threatened the protesters with a broken beer bottle, this did not justify their striking him with a metal stool to inflict serious injuries.

One wrong does not justify another wrong.

Police arrived later and a young man - later identified as a volunteer from a religious group acting as a buffer between police and protesters - was whisked into an alleyway where the force insisted its officers were kicking nothing but a "yellow object."

The incidents - the street fighting and alleyway kicking - were filmed. It's most likely that people in rival camps would only view the scripts they like to identify with so much so that hatred and violence feed on each other to become a true monster that will eventually consume Hong Kong.

It's impossible to justify the violent scenes. Shockingly, propaganda has escalated on both sides to glorify the use of force.

Remember the nasty scenes at the airport a month ago when two mainlanders arriving at the airport were held and physically abused by protesters?

It's disturbing that, as anti-government protests entered the second 100 days, the situation degenerated quickly from targeting government buildings only, then public facilities and now individuals of opposite political views.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor was overly confident when she said it was remarkable that nobody had died.

I fear she may see that soon given that a representative of junior police officers hinted they will fire live rounds should their pistols be seized.

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