A 50-year-old Hong Kong man has been arrested following a knife attack on three people at a pro-democracy Lennon Wall in Tseung Kwan O early Tuesday.
The police confirmed that the suspect was arrested at a border checkpoint in Lo Wu at around 3 pm yesterday when he was trying to re-enter Hong Kong after fleeing to the mainland.
In a press briefing Tuesday evening, a police superintendent said the arrested person holds a Hong Kong identity card, and that he is not a mainlander as some people had speculated.
More details will be provided once further investigations are done, said the officer from the Police Public Relations Branch (PPRB).
He was referring to a shocking incident that took place in a pedestrian tunnel connecting King Lam Estate and Hau Tak Estate, two public housing developments in Tseung Kwan O, in the wee hours of Tuesday.
According to a witness, a man was seen arguing with two women about a Lennon Wall set up in the tunnel, where people had posted messages in connection with Hong Kong’s ongoing anti-extradition bill related protest movement, before using a meat cleaver to slash them.
After attacking the women, the assailant turned his attention to a man who happened to be in the vicinity, also injuring him.
Police superintendent Kong Wing-cheung said during the Tuesday briefing that unformed and Police Tactical Unit officers arrived at the scene within five minutes after a report was received at 1:36 am, but by them the assailant had already gone.
Kong admitted that police did not go through video footage from one of the buildings of Chung Ming Court public housing estate, where the suspect entered, changed clothes and left after committing the offense, until 5 am Tuesday.
However, the officer dismissed talk that the law enforcement personnel didn’t move quickly enough.
One of the Tuesday attack victims, a 26-year-old reporter who had been working for the Hong Kong Economic Journal, remained in critical condition at Queen Elizabeth Hospital as of Tuesday night after suffering wounds to her arm, shoulder and back.
The other female victim, who was 35 years in age, was in stable condition in Tseung Kwan O Hospital.
As for the third person who was injured in the attack, a man aged 24, he was discharged after he, too, received medical attention at Tseung Kwan O Hospital.
John Tse Chun-chung, PPRB chief superintendent, said the case has been classified as wounding and that the investigation has been taken over by the District Crime Squad of Tseung Kwan O.
The police do not tolerate violent acts, and will investigate every case critically, the officer said.
On Tuesday night, several hundred residents of Chung Ming Court residential complex gathered outside its management office demanding explanations after a security guard claimed he did not see the suspect enter and leave the building premises.
The security staff is reported to have been placed under suspension.
HKEJ editor-in-chief Alice Kwok Yim-ming confirmed that one of the attack victims, the person who suffered the most serious injuries, was an employee of the newspaper. The reporter, surnamed Wong, had been on leave after putting in her papers earlier this month.
The HKEJ family is saddened by the colleague’s injury, Kwok said, denouncing the attack.
Richard Li Tzar-kai, chairman of Pacific Century Group and the owner of HKEJ, said his thoughts were with the injured reporter’s family.
Wishing the reporter a speedy recovery, Li promised to pay for her medical and rehabilitation bills.
Responding to news of the shocking incident, Hong Kong’s top leader Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor repeated a call for an end to violence and chaos in society.
The police are stringently following up on the incident, she said.
In a press briefing on Wednesday, police said the knife attack case will be put up at the Kwun Tong Magistrates’ Courts on Thursday morning.
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