As violent protests continued in Hong Kong, the city’s Justice Minister Teresa Cheng on Thursday was hurt when she fell after being surrounded by demonstrators, in what was the first physical confrontation between a cabinet official and anti-government protesters.
Cheng is in London to promote Hong Kong as a centre of dispute resolution, appeared calm but shocked while surrounded for several minutes by at least 30 protesters angry about the administration’s handling of the anti-government protests, South China Morning Post reported.
She later made a report to the London police and asked them “take the case seriously and put the culprits to justice”, her office said in a statement.
“The Secretary for Justice castigates the violent mob in London today causing her serious bodily harm on her way to an event venue,” it said.
Earlier on Friday, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam issued a statement condemning the protesters’ action against Cheng.
“The barbaric behaviour got beyond the line of civil society, it should be strongly condemned,” the South China Morning Post quoted Lam as saying.
Earlier on Tuesday, the city’s universities emerged as a new flashpoint with sustained clashes at major campuses for the first time.
On Sunday, a 21-year-old who was shot by a policeman and a 57-year-old man who was set on fire after an argument with protesters remained hospitalized in “critical condition”.
Hong Kong has been upended by five months of huge and increasingly violent rallies, but Beijing has refused to give in to most of the movement’s demands.
Tensions have soared in recent days following the death on Friday of a 22-year-old student Alex Chow, who succumbed to serious injuries sustained from a fall in the vicinity of a violent clash the weekend before.
The controversial China extradition bill was withdrawn in early September but the movement has morphed into a wider campaign for greater democracy and against alleged police brutality.