Ethnic minorities pour cold water on retaliation fears

Top News | Cindy Wan 21 Oct 2019

Ethnic minorities distributed water bottles to protesters outside Chungking Mansions as they appealed against racial retaliation following the assault on protest leader Jimmy Sham Tsz-kit.

Most shops at the Tsim Sha Tsui building shut their doors yesterday as the Kowloon Masjid and Islamic Centre also closed its main entrance facing Nathan Road except at prayer time.

Sham, the 32-year-old convener of the Civil Human Rights Front and a District Council election candidate, was attacked by several suspected South Asian men in Mong Kok last Wednesday night.

Calls were made online for retaliation against mosques and Chungking Mansions in Nathan Road, where many shops are run by ethnic minorities.

Many also appealed for respect of minorities and their religions. Outside Chungking, about 50 people, mainly South Asians and Africans, distributed water bottles and snacks to protesters, who responded with cheers and handshakes.

Among them was an Indian non-government organization worker called Z, a permanent resident who has lived in Hong Kong for seven years.

The 30-year-old appealed to society not to link the attack to ethnic minorities: "A small minority does not represent the whole," she said.

"I came here to show that we are all Hongkongers and we stand together as one."

Khalid Khan, 34, owner of a mobile shop in Chungking Mansions, said he was afraid that shops would be vandalized by protesters.

"To be honest, we were afraid because the protests have been going on for four months and many things have been broken. Some of us dare not come out in recent days," he said.

"I'm here to protect our home and tell the public that every country has good and bad people.

"We bought some water to treat our guests. Well, tea is better but a bit expensive. We tried our best."

In front of the Kowloon Mosque and Islamic Center, about 20 protesters in full gear guarded the entrance and held signs not to vandalize the religious venue. To prevent things from getting out of control, Wong, 20, chose to guard the mosque, saying: "Hong Kong is slowly learning to respect ethnic minorities and we can't discriminate against them just because of a single incident."

Although she does not agree with radical protests, she said she would not cut ties with those who vandalized facilities.

Sham was discharged from Kwong Wah Hospital yesterday.

He will continue to receive medical treatment and physical therapy, and will not attend any public events in the coming days.

Sham said in a statement yesterday: "Let us connect with and protect each other. Do not label anyone by ethnicity in the movement.

"I believe that everyone who joins this path to democracy are our brothers and sisters, regardless of nationality, language, color and race."

No one has yet been arrested over the latest attack on Sham, the second time the protest leader has been assaulted.

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