Hong Kong protests: Anti-government protesters call for vigilantism and physical retaliation

New line advocates physical retaliation against aggressive groups rather than retreating or seeking help from police

Wong Tsui-kai |

Latest Articles

GTA Tokyo x Yakuza video: Japanese YouTubers recreate open-world game scenes in real life

Coronavirus: Free voluntary Covid-19 tests for all Hongkongers announced

HK's education authorities may consider flexible testing options for secondary school placement

How to pronounce epitome and other common hard-to-say words

Viral video shows HK schoolgirl slapped and smeared with lipstick in suspected bullying incident

TikTok clone, Instagram Reels, launches

The anti-government camp are are calling on protesters to settle matters themselves instead of relying on the police.

The growing use of force by anti-government protesters in Hong Kong took a new twist over the weekend, with vigilantism being advocated as a way to tackle clashes with rival groups. As the city marked the 15th straight weekend of demonstrations, protesters used a new phrase – si liu – which is Cantonese for “resolving things privately”.

The line advocates physical retaliation against aggressive groups rather than retreating or asking police – whom many widely view as their enemy – to mediate and enforce the law.

Such calls intensified online following attacks on Saturday at Fortress Hill, when a group of men in blue T-shirts with the slogan “I love police” were seen openly beating civilians with wooden sticks and Chinese national flags near a “Lennon Wall”.

Police group justifies officers' use of live ammunition; school demonstrations continue for third week

Previously, clashes in Tsuen Wan, North Point, and Yuen Long had seen groups of older men attacking black-clad protesters.

Other clashes at Lennon Walls include one incident on July 11 in Kowloon Bay where a young man did not resist when punched multiple times. In another clash in Tseung Kwan O in the early hours of August 20, three people were badly injured in a knife attack. In both cases, the attackers were arrested.

Over four days, from last Saturday to Tuesday morning, more than 140 discussion threads about fighting back were posted on LIHKG, an online forum used by protesters. But for a month before Saturday, there were only about 50 discussion threads on the same subject.

Peaceful demonstrations are turning ugly; the latest weekend events included MTR station fires and attacks on journalists

The call for fist fights comes on top of an array of tactics used by anti-government protesters over the past three months, each appearing more violent than previous methods.

Teresa Kwok, 14, from South Island School, thinks violence will not help. “People are just going to fight against each other and it will never stop,” Teresa says. “I truly think that protesters should respect other people’s political views, not fight them, and convince them to believe who is wrong and who is right.”