A man who was hospitalized after defending an Epoch Times staffer during a knife attack in Hong Kong said he did not regret his actions and called for fellow citizens to safeguard the city’s freedoms.
Jerry, a part-time videographer with the Hong Kong edition of The Epoch Times, was attacked by a knife-wielding man in a white shirt while covering a pro-democracy protest in Kwun Tong district at around 9 p.m. on June 12.
The bystander, who the police had identified as a 21-year-old male at a Saturday press conference, grabbed the knife with his bare hands to stop the assailant. Police did not disclose his name.
According to a friend who accompanied the victim at the hospital, the knife severed two nerves in his hand. He was scheduled for surgery Saturday morning, said Kwun Tong district councilor Kinda Li.
Despite the serious injury, the man struck a defiant tone, expressing hope that Hongkongers could “live up to their expectations” and stand ready to defend their values.
“A lot of people might have the mentality that ‘if I don’t come out this time, I can do it next time,’ or that ‘even if I don’t come out, many others will.’ They therefore choose not to stand up,” the friend told The Epoch Times, relaying his message. “But this mindset is contagious.”
For six months last year, Hong Kong was rocked with mass protests against Beijing’s growing encroachment into the city’s autonomy. Beijing last month imposed a national security law for the city, bypassing Hong Kong’s legislature, which critics fear will crush the city’s freedoms. The move reignited the pro-democracy movement, sparking several protests in recent weeks.
The man said he believes pro-Beijing instigators like the attacker would not be so “out of control” if the two million Hongkongers who took to the streets to call for greater freedoms last June could come together to prevent similar acts of intimidation from recurring.
Before the attack, the assailant shouted pro-Beijing slogans in front of a street stand adorned with pro-democracy slogans and images in an area nearby the Epoch Times photographer, according to Hong Kong media.
“Quite frankly, I’m not scared to be stabbed to death on the street, what I fear is to see people’s hearts turning cold and apathetic, indifferent to everything around them,” the 21-year-old said, according to his friend.
The Hong Kong edition of The Epoch Times in a statement expressed appreciation and respect toward the bystander, adding that they hope he can quickly recover.
The outlet also condemned the violence of the assailant and urged Hong Kong police to investigate the incident and the person’s background.
The attacker is in police custody. According to the police, the man is a 27-year-old male surnamed Kwong. They had found a knife box along with two and a half tablets during a body search. A fruit knife approximately 7.5 inches long was found on the ground at the scene.
Kwong was charged with wounding and striking to cause bodily harm, as well as possessing poison.
The Hong Kong Journalist Association expressed “strong condemnation” toward the violent attack on the reporter and called for a thorough investigation into the person’s motivation.
Jerry sustained minor hand injuries and did not request hospitalization.