‘Unhealthy and stupid’ calls to kill advocates of Hong Kong independence criticised by city’s leader
Pro-Beijing lawmaker had earlier hit back at criticism of his remarks, writing ‘Ha ha ha, call the police, idiots’ in a Facebook post
Hong Kong’s leader and a prominent adviser have slammed a pro-Beijing lawmaker’s “unhealthy and stupid” calls to have pro-independence advocates “killed mercilessly”.
Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor and Executive Council member Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee made the comments hours after Junius Ho Kwan-yiu defended his remark and challenged critics to call the police.
Meanwhile, police said detectives had been assigned to investigate comments made at a rally on Sunday, which called for academic Benny Tai Yiu-ting to be sacked from the University of Hong Kong for his role as a co-founder of Occupy Central. Those attending the rally, which Ho helped organise, blamed Tai for the recent rise in pro-independence sentiment.
Speaking before an Exco meeting on Tuesday, Lam said any “rude, insulting and threatening” speech was unacceptable in civilised society, no matter what the stance was.
“I have noticed that the debate has spread to society in large with people taking sides and using very foul language ... I think that is most unhealthy and totally not necessary for Hong Kong, as everybody wants to go back to being a more harmonious society,” Lam said.
Ip branded Ho’s comments as “stupid” when she cited him as a defence against criticism of her earlier comments that it would be “unwise” for the government to prosecute students who put up the pro-independence banners in university campuses earlier this month.
“Loving our country does not mean acting or speaking in a stupid way, like Junius Ho yesterday. It will do our country no good to have stupid ‘patriots’, including possibly quite a few hired to become ‘patriots’,” Ip said.
In a 700-character Facebook post put out at 2am on Tuesday, Ho lashed out at his critics for having a poor grasp of the Chinese language arguing the “kill” used by him and participants at a rally on Sunday was, in fact, its homonym for “halt”.
He denied he had tried to incite any sort of violence.
“The word kill was directed at advocates of the Hong Kong independence movement and the need to halt their lawbreaking expressions,” Ho wrote. “To condemn me for inciting hate speech and [threatening to] report to the police is simply absurd.
“I won’t even go into how bankrupt their personalities and despicable their style of work are, among other problems, but I can’t believe their level of Chinese and comprehension, can be so bad!”
He called for unity to counter the “cold-blooded” independence movement and ended the post with “Ha ha ha (call the police and report me for intimidation, idiots!)”
Ho was referring to the 22 pan-democrat lawmakers who issued a join statement on Monday reprimanding the legislator and lawyer for going “beyond the bottom line of free speech and morals” and possibly committing a crime by using threatening words in public to “provoke a breach of the peace” and inciting people to kill or cause injury.
On stage at the rally Yuen Long district councillor Tsang Shu-wo said “if he advocates Hong Kong independence, he’s not Chinese, he’s an outsider, [he] must be killed”.
In response, Ho and other pro-Beijing activists on stage with Tsang, chanted: “No mercy!”
After the rally, Ho accused the media of taking his words out of context when asked if it was unlawful to advocate “merciless killing”.
Commenting on the chants, Ho then said: “If Hong Kong independence advocates are subverting the fate of a country ... why not kill them?” Ho asked, adding that “killing pigs and dogs was not criminal”.
“To kill them without mercy’ means we deplore wrongdoers like our enemies.”
On radio show later on Tuesday morning, Ho questioned why the “yellow” media and pro-democracy lawmakers did not reserve the same condemnation for those posting insulting and abusive messages at university message boards.