26 August 2019
Labor Party legislator Fernando Cheung (right) says it is hard to understand why some people would want to attack the Legco building. Photo: Now TV
Labor Party legislator Fernando Cheung (right) says it is hard to understand why some people would want to attack the Legco building. Photo: Now TV

Attack on Legco too much of a coincidence

The break-in at the Legislative Council continues to baffle many Hong Kong people. Who could have done such an absurd act of violence? And why?

According to reports, a group of about a dozen masked men stormed the building in the wee hours of Wednesday, using steel barricades and concrete to smash the glass door to gain entry.

Police, using pepper spray and batons, managed to repel the attackers, although three of the officers were injured. At least six people were arrested, the reports said.

Initial reports said the attackers were pro-democracy activists, but even student leaders were “confused” about the incident, saying that they “could not understand the logic behind the action”.

What is clear is that it happened after the government proposed to strengthen security around the Legco complex. Isn’t that too much of a coincidence?

The government on Tuesday announced that it will erect three-meter-high fences around a large portion of the compound in Admiralty, similar to the ones built around Civic Square, the forecourt of the government headquarters next door. The proposal is apparently intended to prevent any disruption of business at Legco while mass demonstrations such as the Occupy protest are taking place outside. 

Less than a day after the announcement, Legco was attacked. Regardless of who were the perpetrators, the break-in provided a good instance to support the government’s proposal to erect fences outside the Legco complex.

While some quarters readily accused the Occupy Movement of being behind the incident, the background and objective of the attackers remain unclear.

Some say the perpetrators recruited volunteers from the highly popular social networking site But netizens at the site denied having anything to do with the incident, noting that the attackers were troublemakers.

“All players know clearly any violent action will ruin the Occupy protest,” one netizen said.

Lawmakers from the pan-democratic camp condemned the attack, but insisted that the perpetrators don’t belong to the Occupy Movement. They said the campaign should maintain its non-violent stance.

They also strongly opposed the plan to build fences around the Legco.

Meanwhile, the pro-Beijing camp said it’s not enough for the government to build fences to secure Legco from “terrorist attacks”. They said the government should draft a law to provide legal backing to the security measures for Legco.

In fact, the proposal to build a security barrier at Legco shows that the government looks at the pro-democracy campaign as a security issue. Instead of heeding the protesters’ call for genuine universal suffrage, it opted to block their voices by erecting a wall between the protesters and the legislators.

But the proposal would only further alienate the government from the people. It would show that the government intends to use the legislative body as a rubber stamp rather than a group of lawmakers representing the people’s interest.

People are staging protest actions outside the complex to make their voices heard, to tell their supposed representatives what they need.

Thus, erecting fences at the legislative body will symbolize the government’s indifference to public opinion. It will mean that the government wants to muffle their voices and prevent them from airing their legitimate demands and concerns.

But the Occupy Movement has shown that there is no stopping these voices. Hong Kong’s youth will pursue their struggle for a better tomorrow — whether the fences rise or not.

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EJ Insight writer

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