Hong Kong police officer in serious condition after being attacked by ‘lone wolf’ assailant

  • A 50-year-old man stabbed the officer, then himself, in Causeway Bay on Thursday evening; the suspect was later certified dead in hospital
  • The city’s new Secretary for Security said people who ‘encouraged violence and incited hatred towards country’ were also to blame

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A man was arrested after he allegedly stabbed a police officer in Causeway Bay. He was later certified dead at the hospital, while the officer is in serious condition. This video still shows the attack.

A lone assailant died after he stabbed a police officer and then himself in Causeway Bay on Thursday night as the city marked the 24th anniversary of its return to Chinese sovereignty, in what the security chief called a “terrorist attack”.

Newly installed Secretary for Security Chris Tang Ping-keung said preliminary investigations showed the assailant was a “lone wolf” and police were still probing the man’s background. The case had been classified as attempted murder, he added.

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The force said the 28-year-old Police Tactical Unit officer was knifed in the back outside the Sogo department store at around 10pm by a man who then used the weapon on himself.

A Hospital Authority spokesman said the officer’s condition improved on Friday morning from critical to serious.

Secretary for Security Chris Tang Ping-keung and Police Commissioner Raymond Siu Chak-yee meet the media to talk about the inicident at Queen Mary Hospital. Photo: SCMP/ Edmond So

The officer, who has served on the force for eight years, suffered a 10cm-deep wound and the weapon pierced his lung.

He was admitted to the intensive care unit at Queen Mary Hospital in Pok Fu Lam and required urgent surgery, sources said. Air and blood were found in his chest cavity, while a scan showed his heart had shifted.

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The attack was caught on camera and a video clip of the crime was widely circulated online. The 50-year-old suspect was seen lying in a pool of blood after he was subdued by officers at the scene.

He was later certified dead at Ruttonjee Hospital in Wan Chai.

Raymond Siu Chak-yee, who took over as police commissioner from Tang last week, rushed to the scene shortly after the attack.

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The violence came at the end of a day on which, for the first time on a handover anniversary, there were no mass protests after police locked down Victoria Park , the traditional gathering point for demonstrators, banned activists from setting up street booths and maintained a heavy presence across the city.

Police said at least 19 people were arrested for offences, including possession of offensive weapons and distributing seditious publications. Officers also fined 19 people for breaching social-distancing rules.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, who had just returned from Beijing where the Communist Party was holding its 100th anniversary celebrations, strongly condemned the violence and wished the officer a speedy recovery.

Speaking to the press at the airport, Lam described the assault as a “clear affront to the safety of society, and a disregard for the rule of law”.

She also pointed to an incident earlier on Thursday where flammable objects were thrown near her official residence, as well as a recent discovery by police of materials capable of being used for making explosives.

“These show that even though the national security law has turned Hong Kong from a place of chaos to order … we still need to stay vigilant and think of danger in times of safety,” Lam said.

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Police will investigate whether the assailant was connected to any organisation, she added.

Tang, speaking outside Queen Mary Hospital in the early hours of Friday, took aim at those who incited hatred.

“I would like to state that it was not just the assailant who was responsible for causing this incident, but also people who have encouraged violence and incited hatred towards society and the country, and have beautified these violent acts,” he said, with the police chief at his side.

“These promoters also have blood on their hands.”

There was heavy police presence on Hong Kong island yesterday, especially around Causeway Bay, where protests normally begin. Photo: SCMP/ Xiaomei Chen

Tang said police had found a computer in the suspect’s home and items which had radicalised him, but he would not provide any more details on the contents or the background of the man, including whether he had a criminal record or mental illness.

But he defended the police decision to ban the annual July 1 protest, saying it would be “putting the cart before the horse” to claim it had deprived the public of its freedom of expression and caused people to resort to violence.

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