‘Unbelievably cruel act’ condemned by German chancellor after axe attack on Hong Kong tourists
One victim remains in a coma after assault, another is critical while relatives ask whether two others who were injured less seriously can be moved back to Hong Kong
Hong Kong’s first victims of a wave of so-called Islamist terror in Europe remained in a critical condition on Thursday night as German leader Angela Merkel condemned the train axe attack they endured as an “unbelieveably cruel act”.
While the oldest of the four Hong Kong victims, 62-year-old Yau Shu-ping, came out of a coma last night, a second victim, Edmund Au Yeung Chi-kin, 31, remained unconscious and locked in a fight for his life.
They were attacked on Monday by what the German authorities believe was a man inspired by Islamic State. Yau and Au suffered horrific injuries as they tried to stop the attacker on a train in the Bavarian city of Wuerzburg.
German chancellor Angela Merkel made her first public comments on the attack. “My thoughts are first and foremost with the victims of this crime. We extend our heartfelt wishes that they will be able to recover from their injuries, from the physical and psychological trauma,” she said.
On Wednesday, a source close to the family said the relatives were keen to get those with less serious injuries back to Hong Kong as soon as it was reasonable to do so.
“We have discussed this with the doctors. They said longer observation was needed. Transportation to Hong Kong is possible only if their health situation allows,” the source said.
Senior immigration officer Kenneth Tong King-him said discussions were under way about the possible transfer of Yau’s 26-year-old daughter, Tracy Yau Hiu-tung, who was in a stable condition, from the hospital in Nuernberg to Wuerzburg so she could stay closer to the other three patients – Yau, Au and Yau’s wife, Wong Pui-king, 58, who was also injured in the attack.
Tracy Yau said in a television interview that her head and body still hurt but she had recovered a lot. She said the condition of her mother was also better.
The couple’s 17-year-old son, Yau Chak-ming, was unhurt. Au is Tracy Yau’s boyfriend.
An officer from the main police station in Wuerzburg told the Post that the terrorist attack investigation had been upgraded and passed over to federal public prosecutors.
“It’s because of the connection to Islamic State. Therefore we are [off the case],” an officer told the Post on condition of anonymity, as he was not authorised to speak.
Simon Christoffer, 26, who works for a plumbing company around 300 metres from the crime scene at Heidingsfield in Wuerzburg, said the attacker was covered with blood and shocked by the sudden heavy police and paramedic presence in the area.
“The police commander was here. Even a helicopter was flying over. It was very intense. This is not normal,” Christoffer revealed.
“The police opened fire after a man with blood on him ran out from a train. The police asked us to remain inside and not to go out. I have never seen something this huge before. This is the biggest operation in the city.”
Meanwhile, doubts continue over the nationality of the attacker, 17-year-old Muhammad Riyad, who was shot dead by police as he tried to escape.
Initial reports said he was an Afghan asylum seeker, but the ZDF television station, citing sources close to the German security services, reported that he was from Pakistan and had pretended to be an Afghan to bolster his asylum claim.
A taxi driver named Rana, who left Pakistan for Germany in 1989, said the whole world might now mistake all Pakistanis as bad people after the attack, if the attacker’s real nationality was confirmed.
“ There are many refugees or Pakistanis in Germany, but apparently this guy was brainwashed,” Rana said.
“One guy out of 1,000 who is bad does not mean we are all bad,” he said.