Police urged to do more to prevent violence at Lennon Walls

July 12, 2019 14:36
Colorful notes against the extradition bill are plastered on a Lennon Wall in Tai Po. Photo: Reuters

Pan-democratic lawmakers urged police to do more to prevent violent incidents that have broken out at Lennon Walls over the past few days, saying people should not suffer for expressing their opinions peacefully.

In a statement issued on Thursday, the pan-democrats said it was outrageous that young people who tried to set up a Lennon Wall at an exit of Yau Tong MTR Station were taunted, threatened and even assaulted on Wednesday night, while two men were attacked in a similar incident in Kowloon Bay, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

They said police should strictly enforce the law against those who try to stop people from peacefully expressing their views.

Lennon Walls, which first appeared in Hong Kong during the pro-democracy Occupy movement in 2014, are springing up across the city as people stick colorful notes on them to express their opposition to proposed legislation that would allow extradition to mainland China.

The pro-democracy lawmakers demanded quick action over the assault cases stemming from the Lennon Walls as these incidents reflected a sharp polarization that is happening in society.

On Wednesday night, scuffles erupted near Exit A of Yau Tong MTR Station as several middle-aged individuals used coarse language against several young ones who were trying to set up a Lennon Wall there.

Police officers arrested two men at the scene for common assault.

One was later released on bail, while the other was released unconditionally as the victim decided not to press charges.

On Thursday morning, police arrested a middle-aged man after he allegedly attacked two men defending a Lennon Wall in Kowloon Bay. 

The two men, aged 65 and 36, sustained facial, mouth and hand injuries for trying to protect the wall. They were sent to hospital.

The alleged assailant was arrested and charged with two counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm. He will be arraigned at the Kwun Tong Magistrates’ Courts next Friday.

In another incident linked to Lennon Walls, two men got into a quarrel with another man after the two were trying to remove Post-it Notes on a Lennon Wall outside the Tai Po Market MTR station on Thursday night.

One of them ended up being sent to hospital for treatment of an arm injury.

Meanwhile, a man has been arrested for allegedly trying to set fire to a Lennon Wall in Aberdeen, RTHK reported.

The man lit a note on the wall near a bus stop on Wu Nam Street on Thursday night, the broadcaster quoted police as saying.

Asked by media whether authorities will move to tear down the Lennon Walls, Secretary for Food and Health Sophia Chan Siu-chee on Thursday said the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) may take cleaning actions if it receives complaints from citizens, adding that the department will also consider hygienic factors.

“[The FEHD] is looking into the environmental hygiene of different districts. If there are any complaints against the situation whereby it will cause any environmental hygiene problems, then the [FEHD] staff will make an assessment and see how best to take forward,” Chan said.

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