A Hong Kong man has died after stabbing a policeman and then himself in a case that the city’s security chief described as “a lone wolf terror attack” as the Chinese Communist Party marked the centenary of its foundation.
Thursday night’s attack, which left the officer in serious condition, came despite an overwhelming security operation in the Asian financial center to prevent any protests.
“I strongly condemn this kind of violence,” said Hong Kong Managing Director Carrie Lam. “These behaviors are clearly aimed at the stability of our society. “
The attack came despite the government’s success in shutting down Hong Kong’s anti-government protest movement through mass arrests of activists and the introduction of a national security law Last year.
Analysts said the incident would be used to justify a further crackdown as Beijing seeks to bring the city to heel after mass protests in 2019 to protect the freedoms guaranteed to the city after its 1997 handover to China.
The 28-year-old officer was stabbed outside a department store in Causeway Bay, one of the city’s busiest shopping areas and the usual gathering point for protests.
The 50-year-old suspect then stabbed himself in the chest with the same weapon and was pronounced dead after being sent to hospital. Videos showed him lying in a pool of blood at the scene.
Hong Kong Security Secretary Chris Tang, without specifying it, has promised to target those who “advocate violence, incite hostility, hatred towards society and the country”, who he says are the main factors causing the incident.
“These people pushing from behind have their hands full of blood,” he said.
Experts said that even if the man’s motivation was unclear, the case would be seen by authorities as proof that they had not done enough to quell Hong Kong’s anti-government movement.
“It was such an important day for the diet, [yet] with so many measurements, there are always problems, ”said Ray Yep, political scientist at City University of Hong Kong.
Others said the city’s pro-Beijing politicians would seek to equate the stabbing with the broader pro-democracy movement. “This can be used as an argument for the strict controls under the National Security Act, or maybe even an extension of its application,” said Ian Chong, professor of political science at the National University of Singapore. .
A handful of people came to the scene of the stabbing attack on Friday to mourn the death of the assailant.
Meanwhile, police found flammable items that were thrown at Government House, Lam’s residence, and arrested at least 19 people for acts such as distributing seditious publications and possessing weapons.
The incidents came after Chinese President Xi Jinping presided over a mass ceremony in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square to marks the founding of the party in 1921.
Thursday also marked the 24th anniversary of Hong Kong’s 1997 handover from the UK to China.