Top official slams Hong Kong riot

2016-02-14 23:57:20 GMT2016-02-15 07:57:20(Beijing Time)  Shanghai Daily

THE top Chinese central government official in Hong Kong yesterday condemned radical separatist forces that took part in a riot in the city’s bustling Mong Kok shopping district during the Chinese New Year holiday.

Zhang Xiaoming, director of the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, made the comments after attending an event to convey his Lunar New Year greetings to the residents of Hong Kong.

The senior official said that he was shocked and deeply saddened by the riot that broke out in Mong Kok in the early hours of last Tuesday morning.

He expressed his sympathy to the police officers and journalists who were injured in the violence.

“We strongly condemn those rioters who maliciously committed beating, smashing, arson and other violent crimes,” he said.

“We strongly condemn those radical separatists whose behavior got more and more violent, and even showed terror tendencies,” he said.

“We strongly condemn those remarks and sophistries that agitate for violence and confuse right and wrong, and even attempt to shift the blame onto other people,” he said, without saying to which remarks he was referring.

Zhang said he believed the Hong Kong government and its law enforcement departments will handle the incident according to the law and prosecute anyone found guilty of a criminal offense.

Hong Kong residents hope for peace, stability and prosperity in the region, he said.

He also said that he believes they also share a consensus that Hong Kong should not be overrun by violence and will not tolerate “radicals” trying to destroy Hong Kong’s rule of law.

“We also strongly believe that justice will prevail,” the director told reporters.

About 300 people participated in the riot in the early hours of last Tuesday after official attempts to remove illegal street vendors from Mong Kok — one of Hong Kong’s busiest shopping areas — during Lunar New Year celebrations.

Police fired warning shots into the air, as rioters threw paving stones, charged police lines and set rubbish on fire.

Nearly 90 police officers and four journalists were injured during the incident. More than 60 people were arrested and 40 were charged with rioting offenses.

Hong Kong leader Leung Chun-ying claimed yesterday that most of the rioters were unemployed.

“The majority of them are jobless,” the chief executive said. “Quite many of them belong to radical political groups. Their political demands cannot reflect the majority of society.”

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