The Hong Kong Journalists Association yesterday expressed outrage at the attacks on journalists covering the Taishi villagers' failed attempt to oust village chief Chen Jinsheng . In a letter to Guangdong Governor Huang Huahua , the association described the attacks as 'barbaric and unlawful', saying they posed severe personal threats to the reporters. It called on Mr Huang to investigate the attacks, which took place last Friday and Saturday, adding that they would affect Guangdong's image. Meanwhile, more than 140 Hong Kong residents have signed an online petition calling on the central government to investigate the violence. Organisers expect to collect more signatures by tomorrow. These will be submitted to the central government's liaison office in Hong Kong on Saturday. The petition calls on President Hu Jintao and the central government to release detained villagers and activists, and punish officials who have abused their power. It also calls on the authorities to allow villagers to hold a new election for their village chief under the supervision of central government officials and the media.