Attack on Hong Kong student leader Joshua Wong 'a threat to free speech'
Pan-democrats and professionals condemn assault on young activist
Pan-democratic lawmakers and 16 professional groups condemned yesterday's alleged assault on student leader Joshua Wong Chi-fung and his girlfriend, saying it posed a threat to freedom of speech.
The Professional Teachers' Union and 15 other groups including psychologists, nurses and lawyers said they were outraged and urged police to track down the assailant.
Wong said the attack happened in Elm Street, Tai Kok Tsui shortly after midnight yesterday when he and his girlfriend, Tiffany Chin Sze-man, were walking to Mong Kok MTR station after watching a film at the nearby Olympian City mall.
Wong, an Open University undergraduate and convenor of student group Scholarism, said he was grabbed by the neck and punched in the face by an unknown man in his 20s, who was accompanied by a woman of about the same age.
"The man suddenly came [close]. He grabbed my neck and punched my left eye. My glasses flew off," Wong posted on his Facebook page alongside a photo showing injuries to the bridge of his nose, his cheek and eyebrow.
Chin, who is also a member of Scholarism, sustained minor injuries to her legs when she tried to shield him from the blows and record the assault with her mobile phone. The attacker and the woman ran away in different directions.
Wong and Chin were taken to Kwong Wah Hospital in Yau Ma Tei for treatment.
No arrests have been made.
Wong described the attack as "shameful", while Scholarism condemned the incident, saying it believed it was related to Wong's political stance. It said the attack did not appear to be premeditated.
In a joint statement yesterday, pan-democratic lawmakers condemned the attack.
Civic Party leader Alan Leong Kah-kit said: "You can have different opinions because Hong Kong treasures freedom of speech, but you must try to convince a person with reason and not resort to [violence]."
Daisy Chan Sin-ying, convenor of the Civil Human Rights Front, which organises the annual July 1 pro-democracy rally, said the attack was unlawful and would only boost the turnout for the protest tomorrow.
Additional reporting by Tony Cheung