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Tuesday, July 02, 2019, 17:37
Acts of violence at LegCo draw condemnation
By Staff Writers
Tuesday, July 02, 2019, 17:37 By Staff Writers

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government, together with various sectors of local community, strongly condemned the violent acts of the protesters who stormed the Legislative Council Complex on Monday.

The acts were not about expressing opinions but challenging authority, said Tong, who is also a member of the Executive Council

Hundreds of radical protesters smashed glass walls of the LegCo Complex with wire mesh trolleys and metal poles on Monday afternoon. Metal fencing of the building was also dismantled.

The clashes escalated at night as masked protesters, demanding a withdrawal of the extradition-law amendment bill which had been suspended on June 15, broke into the LegCo Complex at around 9 pm. They tore pictures of LegCo presidents off the wall and occupied the chamber room, damaging facilities such as chairs and glasses cabinets.

Protesters also besmirched the Hong Kong SAR emblem in the chamber by the spraying it with oil paint.

ALSO READ: Hong Kong police disperse protesters near LegCo complex

Thousands of others occupied Harcourt Road outside the LegCo Complex, passing umbrellas and metal barricades into the complex.

The Hong Kong Police Force slammed the “illegal and violent” acts for posing serious threats to public safety and public order in a statement.

The police started to disperse the crowds around midnight.

In a statement issued on Monday afternoon, the SAR government said it “strongly condemns and deeply regrets” the extremely violent acts committed by these protesters.

“Hong Kong is a society that respects the rule of law, and has never tolerated violence,” the statement read.

LegCo President Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen decried the violence against the legislature in two messages relayed via his spokesperson. Leung said he is “deeply saddened and deeply regretted” such violent behavior.

Protesters ram metal poles at the glass walls of the Legislative Council Complex in Admiralty as they try to break into the building on July 1, 2019. (PHOTO / CHINA DAILY)

Forty-two lawmakers, including Starry Lee Wai-king and Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee, issued a joint statement criticizing the “extremely radical and violent protesters” for seriously disrupting public order and stability. They called on society to show zero tolerance toward such acts.

Barrister Ronny Tong Ka-wah said that the protesters who conducted such violent acts are, at least, guilty of rioting, criminal damage and harm with intent.

The acts were not about expressing opinions but challenging authority, said Tong, who is also a member of the Executive Council — top policy advisory body to Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor.

No reason can legitimize their violent acts, Tong stressed.

Stanley Ng Chau-pei, a Hong Kong deputy to the National People’s Congress, said he was shocked by the illegal acts of some protesters, and added that they were “complete rioters”.

What they did violated the rule of law — a core value that the SAR has adhered to — and posed a threat to the safety of police officers, LegCo members, and themselves, Ng said.

READ MORE: Radical protesters storm into HK LegCo complex

Violence is never an option for expressing views. The violent acts were nothing but an attempt to overthrow the SAR government, Ng said.

On the same day, a large number of demonstrators took to the street to march against the government’s extradition bill.

The Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong:

The violent acts have greatly deviated from freedom of expression and have gone far beyond the bottom line among Hong Kong people who cherish peace and stability. Different sectors should jointly condemn these extremists’ “crazy or horrible villainy”.

The Business and Professionals Alliance for Hong Kong:

These violent clashes broke the law, imposed threats to other people’s security and jeopardized Hong Kong’s international image. We urge the HKSAR government to follow up in strict accordance with the law. We also support the police strictly enforcing the law.

The Hong Kong Academy of School Managers:

We condemn the shocking, violent clashes at the LegCo Complex. We call on young people to think about issues from different angles and express their opinions in non-violent ways. Please cherish yourselves and safeguard Hong Kong.

Hong Kong Federation of Education Workers:

We strongly condemn violent acts that caused extreme chaos at the LegCo. The violent protestors defied the law, vandalized public properties and posed threats to public safety and order. Hong Kong has no tolerance of them.

Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions:

 The unions lodge the most serious condemnation against those organized rioters and their premeditated violence. We urge members of all sectors to drop antagonism and discuss the current situation in a rational manner. 

New People’s Party:

The party strongly condemns the illegal and violent acts. We urge solemn enforcement action from the police, and respect for police officers on duty.

 Hong Kong Legal Exchange Foundation:

Their acts were serious criminal offenses. The opposition lawmakers who have been vigorously agitating among young people to protest should take responsibility for the situation.

The Hong Kong Chinese Enterprises Associations, the Chinese Banking Association of Hong Kong, the Chinese Asset Management Association of Hong Kong and the Chinese Securities Association of Hong Kong:

 The violent clashes are heinous, which no doubt must be regarded as rioting. We firmly condemn these radical and violent protesters and support the police enforcing the law.

 Albert Chen Hung-yee, professor at the Faculty of Law of the University of Hong Kong:

I have to stress that any violent acts or speeches without lawful excuse violate the rule of law, human rights and justice. People of different political views should discuss the issues and resolve their disputes in rational and lawful ways. I hope Hong Kong continues to be a plural, open, inclusive and peaceful society.

Tam Yiu-chung, Hong Kong deputy to the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress:

The public should see clearly that these protestors were rioters, who were disrupting the city, rather than expressing their views. Most people in Hong Kong long for peace. The city has no room for such rioters.

Lawrence Ma Yan-kwok, barrister and chairman of the Hong Kong Legal Exchange Foundation, also condemned the violent clashes.

The radical protesters’ acts, which have violated the Crimes Ordinance, must be punished in accordance with the law.

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