Beijing — A prominent pro-Beijing lawmaker in Hong Kong was attacked Wednesday by a knife-wielding man while campaigning in the semi-autonomous Chinese city. Video of the incident shows a man handing Junius Ho a bunch of flowers and chatting before pulling out a knife and stabbing him in the chest.
Hong Kong police said the suspect was arrested as he continued to shout abuse at Ho, calling him "human scum."
Ho said in a statement that one of his ribs stopped the knife and the stab wound was less than an inch deep. He said "black forces" were targeting pro-establishment candidates and incumbents running for seats in Hong Kong's legislature, and he vowed to "remain courageous and fearless."
Ho became a target for hatred byafter videos circulated earlier this year showing him laughing and shaking hands with suspected Beijing-aligned gangsters who assaulted peaceful protesters and commuters. His office was trashed by protesters in July and his parents graves have been desecrated.
The attack on Ho was widely reported on China's state-run media, and the lawmaker was hailed as a "fearless hero" on Chinese social media.
That response stood in contrast to the reaction online Sunday after pro-democracy Hong Kong councilor Andrew Chiu had part of his ear bitten off during a knife attack. Chiu's misfortune was dismissed by many in China as karma.
Hong Kong's chief executive — a leader appointed by Beijing — strongly condemned the violence on Wednesday. Carrie Lam said her administration would make every effort to ensure a safe and fair election process ahead of the November 24 vote to pick new councilors in the Chinese territory. The election is being closely watched as a barometer of opinion in Hong Kong after months of unrest.
"How can protesters carrying out violent acts claim to be pursuing freedom and democracy? Their every move challenges the freedom and violates the rights of the majority of the Hong Kong people," she said.
Lam met Chinese President Xi Jinping Tuesday in Shanghai, who renewed his support for her administration. After that meeting, Lam denied rumors that her government was considering an amnesty for protesters who have been charged with offenses.
Chinese Vice-Premier Han Zheng said Tuesday that no country in the world would tolerate "extreme and destructive acts."