2nd July 2021 – (Hong Kong) A 50-year-old man stabbed a male police officer in front of Sogo Department Store in Causeway Bay before killing himself. It is understood that the 50-year-old man, Leung Kin-fai reported to live in a tenement unit on Shung Ling Street, San Po Kong. He worked as the head of purchasing department of VITASOY Main Building in Tuen Mun District. In addition, he had a USB stick on his body at the time of the incident. There were many suicide notes indicating that he would commit suicide after killing the police and it contained the reason for his suicide to his parents. It also contained words criticising Hong Kong’s lack of freedom and his opposition to the National Security Law. He also mentioned that the police had committed “violence” in the past. In addition, when the police searched the suspect’s unit, it was reported that computers and news clippings related to the anti-extradition protests were also found.

At about 9am today (2nd), some citizens placed white flowers where the assailant fell to the ground. During the period, others observed silence and took pictures. Later, a staff member of Sogo removed the white flowers. At nearly 10am, police officers patrolled the scene, intercepted the citizens who offered flowers and threw the flowers into the trash can. Staff of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department also came to the scene to clean bloodstains. From morning to noon, citizens continued to present flowers at the scene, during which they held white flowers and hugged each other. Police took down the particulars of those who came to place flowers for the deceased assailant. Some were fined for placing the flowers on the ground.

Picture credit: CitizenNews

Picture credit: CitizenNews

Picture credit: CitizenNews

Meanwhile, Hong Kong police noticed messages circulating online that honoured and paid tribute to the attacker, who attempted to murder a police officer and committed suicide last night. Police strongly condemn the blatant violence, as well as those who attempt to romanticise or glorify the despicable act with seditious intent to incite hatred in society. Initial investigations indicate that this was a lone wolf-style act of domestic terrorism in which the attacker was believed to be radicalised by myriad fake information and he committed suicide afterwards. The attack was a clear threat to the safety of society, and a disregard for the rule of law.  Police reiterate that no violent behaviour will be tolerated. Police will continue to take resolute enforcement action so as to safeguard public safety and public order. With the purpose of crime prevention, Police are now actively gathering intelligence and stepping up patrol across Hong Kong, including the crime scene last night.

The actions of these citizens have shown a very toxic side of some local anti-government media such as the now defunct Apple Daily used as an anti-government propaganda machinery to ‘beautify’ violence and incite hatred towards police force by creating fake news to smear them. The disinformation campaigns now emanating from Hong Kong are of a different breed. Engineered for the social media age, they fling up swarms of falsehoods, concocted theories and red herrings, intended not so much to persuade people but to bewilder and poison them which resulted in the lone wolf terrorist attack yesterday. Even if a citizen may have different political views, no one should glorify a terrorist who held so much grudge against the police force to the extent that he would commit a murder. Imagine if the injured police officer were your family member, would you still glorify the suspect and label him a hero even if you are a pro-democracy activist? It seems like the ultimate aim of these toxic media outlets is to foster an environment in which “people begin giving up on the facts.” The suspect’s motive was to kill a police officer, anyone in the right frame of mind would not regard him as a hero regardless of his/her political stand.

And apart from these concerted campaigns, there is a daily churn of false or distorted reports that seem designed to exploit the preconception that ‘freedom of the Hong Kong citizens has been taken away from the government’ and that are pushed by droves of operatives posing as ordinary citizens on social media accounts. Coupled with the interference by foreign countries and the implementation of National Security Law, these disgruntled Hongkongers have fallen deep into an abyss with no return as they can no longer differentiate between right and wrong.

Propaganda has of course existed for ages but it has not been comprehended so clearly by the mass of people as it is today. Today it is a clearly recognised method of social control. If propaganda were a means of influencing others along lines only of benefit to society, it could be hailed with great acclaim. But unfortunately it can also be employed for dishonest and socially vicious programs, just as well as for honest and worthwhile movements.

Many people in Hong Kong have freely responded to suggestions presented in skilfully conducted propaganda by local media such as Apple Daily and to believe that their freedom has been taken away and Chinese government and police force are their public enemy number one. If National Security Law were not passed last year in Hong Kong, more citizens especially the younger ones would have been exposed to more malice as many propagandists were able to hide behind the context of freedom of speech to launch relentless attacks against the government and police force. Not only media outlets now have to exercise more restraint, social media users also need to be more cautious as not to spread unverified fake news to create a path of no return. It will take years before this venom will slowly dissipate from the society. Meanwhile, the government needs to work harder to educate the citizens and to restore their state of mind.