Opposition lawmakers again shout down Hong Kong leader

HONG KONG (AP) — Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam was forced from the legislature for the second day yesterday by opposition members protesting a bloody attack on a leader of the nearly five-month pro-democracy movement.

The lawmakers shouted and waved placards depicting Lam with bloodied hands, prompting the removal of 14 by guards and the suspension of the question-and-answer session.

On Wednesday, Lam was forced to abandon an annual policy address in the chamber, later delivering it by television.

Disruption in the chamber and the attack on Wednesday night on Jimmy Sham by assailants wielding hammers and knives marked the latest dramatic turn in the unrest that has rocked the city since June.

Lam took just three questions, all from pro-government lawmakers.

A pro-democracy lawmaker jeers as Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam leaves a question and answer session at the Legislative Council in Hong Kong. PHOTO: AP

In one response, Lam reiterated that her “first priority” was ending the violence that has dealt a blow to the local economy as well as Hong Kong’s reputation as a safe, law-abiding centre for finance and business with a sophisticated independent judiciary.

Lam said she was working with the city’s 180,000 public servants and transport authorities to restore order, although that task was made harder by members of the public sympathetic to the cause of the “rioters”, as she termed the hard-core protesters.

Shortly after, she withdrew amid chants and calls for her resignation.

Sham has been one of the public faces of the protest movement as a leader of the Civil Human Rights Front, which has organised large demonstrations. He was on his way to an evening meeting in the district of Kowloon when four or five attackers pounced on him, leaving him with bloody head injuries but conscious, the Front said on its Facebook page.

It suggested the assault was politically motivated, linked “to a spreading political terror in order to threaten and inhibit the legitimate exercise of natural and legal rights”.

Mo and other opposition legislators yesterday suggested the attack on Sham may have been designed to frighten others away from protesting, or even to help provide a pretext for the government to call off district council elections scheduled for next month.

“We can’t help but feel that this entire thing is part of a plan to shed blood on Hong Kong’s peaceful protests,” Mo was quoted as saying for government broadcaster RTHK. “If you think you’re being peaceful and you’re safe, you’re not.”