Video showing HK protesters beating up lawyer a blow to movement

This article is more than 12 months old

HONG KONG : A video making the rounds showing Hong Kong protesters beating a lawyer has become a propaganda blow for the pro-democracy movement.

The assault took place on Sunday during a rally against a controversial security law proposed by Beijing. The rally was broken up by police who fired tear gas and water cannon in the most intense clashes for months.

China plans to impose the new law that bans treason, subversion and sedition after massive, often-violent pro-democracy protests last year.

Many Hong Kongers fear the proposal could spell the end of the city's treasured freedoms, and thousands took to the streets on Sunday despite a ban on mass gatherings introduced to combat the coronavirus.

Video footage showed a man with blood on his face scrambling to escape some half a dozen protesters who were kicking and hitting him with umbrellas. The Law Society said the 40-year-old was a member. He reportedly argued with protesters as they set up road blocks.

In another development, Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen said it will provide Hong Kongers with "necessary assistance". Taiwan has become a refuge for a small but growing number of pro-democracy protesters fleeing Hong Kong.

Writing on her Facebook page on Sunday, Ms Tsai said the proposed legislation was a serious threat to Hong Kong's freedoms and judicial independence.

"In face of the changing situation, the international community has proactively stretched out a helping hand to Hong Kong's people," Ms Tsai wrote.

Taiwan will "even more proactively perfect and forge ahead with relevant support work, and provide Hong Kong's people with necessary assistance", she wrote.

Meanwhile, China has warned the US that it will take "every necessary measure" to protect its interests after a top White House adviser warned that Washington might revoke Hong Kong's special trading privileges if China enacts the new security law.

US National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien warned on Sunday that the new law could cost the city the preferential trading status it enjoys with the US.

But a Chinese spokesman said yesterday: "If the US insists on hurting China's interests, China will have to take every necessary measure to counter and oppose this."- AFP, REUTERS