20 January 2020
The Legislative Council is reduced to a sorry mess after protesters ravaged the place on Monday night.  Photo: HKEJ
The Legislative Council is reduced to a sorry mess after protesters ravaged the place on Monday night. Photo: HKEJ

Get to the bottom of the storming of Legco

In her speech at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre to celebrate the 22nd anniversary of the handover, Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor once again brought up the raging controversies over the now-suspended extradition bill.

“I am also fully aware that while we have good intentions, we still need to be open and accommodating. While the government has to ensure administrative efficiency, it still needs to listen patiently,” she said.

“After this incident, I will learn the lesson and ensure that the government’s future work will be closer and more responsive to the aspirations, sentiments and opinions of the community.”

Lam’s words apparently failed to de-escalate the situation outside the Legislative Council complex. On the same night, hundreds of angry protesters broke into the Legco building and ransacked the entire place.

Such violent acts have no place in our society.

However, while we must condemn the violent behavior of some protesters, we must also ask: What were the motives behind their actions? And what exactly were they attempting to accomplish by vandalizing the Legco building?

The storming of the Legco complex was incomprehensible. It was a public holiday on Monday, and so there was no business at the legislature, making their acts downright baffling.

While some look at the ravaging of Legco as a gratuitous action by some radical “rioters”, there are others who think it was carefully planned and executed by a bunch of “fifth columnists” who were attempting to hijack the otherwise peaceful demonstration being staged that day.

Meanwhile, some believe that those who stormed the building saw themselves as martyrs who would go to extreme lengths to pursue their cause.

Another mind-boggling question: Why didn’t the police, who were standing by inside the Legco building, stop the protesters from forcing their way into the complex? And why didn’t the riot police take action and enter the building until after midnight?

Since there are so many unanswered questions about the incident, we urge the police to bring all those who took part in the ransacking of Legco to justice and investigate their true motives. Only by doing so could we uphold the rule of law, ferret out the truth, and enable the government to address the real problem.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on July 2

Translation by Alan Lee

[Chinese version 中文版]

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Hong Kong Economic Journal