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Saturday, August 17, 2019, 01:08
Zeman: Masterminds want to bring Hong Kong to its knees
By Kathy Zhang
Saturday, August 17, 2019, 01:08 By Kathy Zhang

Lan Kwai Fong Group Chairman Allan Zeman said a mastermind has to be behind the recent guerrilla-style protests in the city.

During a one-on-one interview with China Daily, Zeman said his conclusion was drawn from the observation that while the protesters constantly changed their tactics in recent protests, they still managed to stay well-organized.

Hong Kong has seen escalating violence since mid-June, when people first took to the streets to oppose the now-suspended extradition bill, and the situation has dragged society perilously close to the abyss. In the protests over the past two months, radicals have stormed and vandalized the Legislative Council Complex, besieged and attacked the police headquarters and various police stations, paralyzed Hong Kong International Airport for two days, and repeatedly challenged the authority of the police with verbal abuse and acts of violence.

Allan Zeman said protesters who do not respect the law are putting the city in a crisis

“People behind the scenes want to bring Hong Kong to its knees,” Zeman said.

Expressing his concern, the entertainment tycoon blamed various social media for brainwashing the protesters. In so doing, they are “pouring gasoline on the fire,” he said.

Fake news is not uncommon on social media platforms. But sadly, people believe what they see on the internet without making efforts to differentiate between true and false, or right and wrong, Zeman said.

“The young generation today is not like those in the past. They now live their lives by social media,” he added.

The “brainwashed” and “manipulated” radical protesters are hurting the city, Zeman said.

The illegal mass rally at Hong Kong International Airport was especially damaging as it disrupted the airport’s normal operations and undermined the city’s international reputation, said Zeman, who is a member of the Airport Authority Board.

“The airport is the heart of Hong Kong, … but what happened (there) is (sending) messages around the world that the airport is unsafe as it was taken over by protesters,” Zeman said.

Hong Kong’s airport, widely recognized as one of the most efficient in the world, saw an unprecedented disruption of service on Monday and Tuesday as thousands of protesters occupied the terminal building. Almost 1,000 flights were canceled in those two days.

The so-called non-cooperation campaign by protesters to paralyze the city’s public transportation services also affected many people’s lives, Zeman continued.

The Cross-Harbour Tunnel, the city’s busiest tunnel connecting Kowloon and Hong Kong Island, was blocked by protesters twice on Aug 3. The railway service of several lines was paralyzed several times during the morning rush hours in the past several weeks.

Some people who have families they need to support just want to go to work and live their lives even in these difficult times, Zeman added.

Meanwhile, Zeman said protesters who do not respect the law are putting the city in a crisis.

In the past several weeks, protesters have ignored police objections and staged illegal rallies in different districts across the city.

Every person needs to abide by the law. “If you do not, you are an animal and you go wild,” Zeman said.

Looking forward, Zeman said he believes the city should find a way to solve its current problem. Everybody needs to take a step back and really sit down and find a solution through negotiations, he added.

kathyzhang@chinadailyhk.com

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