A foolish road paved with pain

Editorial | Mary Ma 3 Jul 2020

Passage of the tough national security law may have caused many Hongkongers to panic, but it is foolish for young people to gamble with their future - no matter how opposed they are to it.

The 24-year-old engineer - carrying an expired BNO passport - who was taken off a London-bound Cathay Pacific flight minutes before takeoff now faces the prospect of years behind bars if he is convicted of stabbing a policeman during a protest in Causeway Bay on Wednesday.

So often, impulsive acts can carry a massive price - and it's just not worth it.

Although the British government has not yet given details of its residency scheme to allow BNO passport or status holders to settle there permanently, it's obvious that the fleeing stabbing suspect was chancing his future there.

It would have been interesting to see how the British government would have dealt with his asylum request if he had, in fact, been able to flee to the UK.

He was, perhaps, encouraged by news reports that Simon Cheng Man-kit - a former employee of the British Consulate in Hong Kong - being granted asylum in Britain, as well as student activist Wayne Chan Ka-kui having fled to the Netherlands after jumping bail in here.

The chance is that some youngsters, for various reasons - including escaping justice - would follow suit to seek refuge in places where they believe the pastures are greener.

Ex-Demosisto member Nathan Law Kwun-chung reportedly flew out of Hong Kong before the security law came into effect on June 30.

Yesterday, rumors - which were immediately refuted - were rampant that the government may restrict Hongkongers' freedom to leave the SAR after the Chinese embassy in London warned that Beijing would retaliate with "countermeasures." And British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab admitted to the British media that London could not force Beijing to let Hongkongers leave the city.

Police arrested at least 370 people during the July 1 violence, including 10 for allegedly breaching the new security law.

As said, these people were gambling with their future. They did so even when the media widely reported that police had been asked to watch out for anyone, and any material, that could invite charges under the security law.

It was not worth the risk.

Throughout history, there have been all kinds of hate-fueled conflicts, many with religious or ethnic causes.

And in America, many thousands rioted because a black man died after a white policeman knelt on his neck, with ethnicity the root cause of the violence.

Hong Kong's problems do not stem from religious nor ethnic conflicts.

Stop the foolishness.

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