A group of pro-Beijing protesters heckled and pushed lawmaker Nathan Law at the Hong Kong airport late Sunday as the democracy activist returned from Taipei after attending a political forum there.
The demonstration, which turned ugly, resulted in minor injuries to Law and forced him to cancel a prescheduled meeting with media.
As the chairman of the Demosistō political party, which was established last year by former leaders of the pro-democracy Scholarism student group, returned to Hong Kong and stepped into the arrivals hall at the airport at about 10 pm, he was greeted by a dozen or so protesters.
When security guards tried to escort Law safely out of the area, the demonstrators tried to block the way, resulting in some pushing and shoving, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
In the melee, Law saw his shirt getting torn and his glasses fall off his face. Also, some unknown liquid was spilt onto him in the incident which also led to some cameramen from media getting hurt.
After freeing himself from the crowd, Law took a taxi to the Tung Chung police station where he filed a report and had his injury examined.
He said he will hold a press conference on Monday to discuss the violent protest.
Law, along with three other democracy activists — lawmakers Eddie Chu Hoi-dick and Edward Yiu Chung-yim, and Demosistō secretary general Joshua Wong — had gone to Taiwan to attend a political conference hosted by Taiwan’s pro-independence New Power Party (NPP).
In a statement issued late Sunday night, NPP condemned the violence against Law and reminded people that it is normal for two civic societies to engage in exchanges on matters of mutual interest.
Nothing can stop such activities between Hong Kong and Taiwan, it said.
NPP had invited Law, Wong, Chu and Yiu to Taiwan to attend a two-day forum that began on Saturday, aiming to build exchanges between new-generation lawmakers of Taiwan and Hong Kong.
Discussions on pushing for democracy in the two places were the main agenda, causing anger to pro-Beijing groups.
Before the four boarded their Cathay Pacific flight Friday night, dozens of people surrounded them at the check-in counter at the Hong Kong airport and shouted slogans, Apple Daily reports.
Upon their arrival at Taipei’s Taoyuan International Airport at 12:30 am Saturday, the group encountered even more intense protests.
In the demonstration, led by a pro-Beijing group called “Concentric Patriotism Association”, over 200 people held aloft banners that bore messages such as “Scum of Chinese people” and “Hong Kong independence activists get back”.
The Taipei protest was largely peaceful, but the police still took several people into custody.
When the NPP forum was held Sunday afternoon, hundreds of protesters once again gathered outside the venue and continued to express their objection to what they said was Hongkongers coming to Taiwan to stir trouble.
Wong said at the forum that he was a bit surprised to see so many protests mixed with violence in both Hong Kong and Taiwan.
The young activist stressed that he and his companions have never called for Hong Kong independence.
In a Facebook post, Law, who returned to Hong Kong on Sunday ahead of the other three, wrote that the goal of democratic self-determination can never be extinguished and that related exchange activities will never stop despite attacks on the participants.
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