'He is an enemy but you can't just kill him'

Top News | Phoenix Un and James Yu 15 Aug 2019

A Hong Kong-based British journalist said he blocked the attacks of protesters on a mainland visitor, despite believing he was a police officer.

Richard Scotford, a freelance reporter who has worked in Hong Kong for 23 years, was one of the reporters covering the airport violence on Tuesday.

He said he held Xu Jinyang, shielding and protecting him for 40 minutes.

In an interview with pro-Beijing Ta Kung Pao newspaper, Scotford recalled that about 100 protesters were kicking and hitting Xu with sticks.

"He is an enemy, but he is still a human. You can't just kill him," Scotford said. "I am known for supporting violent protesters, but that's not protest, that's just mob violence."

Ta Kung Pao uploaded the video of Scotford's interview online early yesterday morning, but hours later Scotford made several clarifications on his Facebook page that "inevitably some of my words are being used by mainland media to discredit the movement."

He said in a video he uploaded that he "absolutely 100 percent supports the front-line protesters and all protesters in Hong Kong." He said he believed they were not "mobs or rioters."

Referring to Xu, he said: "I also know that he was a Chinese cop, dressed as a protester, caught with sticks, and so had evil intentions towards Hong Kong."

He claimed police disguised themselves as protesters before attacking and arresting other protesters, which "created such anxiety, stress and paranoia within the protester community, and it was inevitable that they will overreact."

He said the movement was a revolution, not a war.

"Even in a bitter war, do you stand by and watch angry soldiers execute prisoners?

"Or do you call it out, try and snap the soldiers out of that crazy moment in time, and get them to focus on the real fight at hand?"

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