‘Mourners for police attacker will become terrorists’

Security Secretary Chris Tang has suggested that scholars who have defended the public mourning of a man who died following a knife attack on a policeman could face prosecution – for allegedly encouraging people to support terrorism and even pushing people into becoming terrorists themselves.

The authorities had already stated that Hongkongers mourning the man’s death on July 1 could be breaching the national security law by advocating terrorist acts.

People who posted comments regarding the man’s death online have glorified violence, while those turning up at the scene of the attack with flowers to the mourn the dead man are destroying law and order, officials have said.

But University of Hong Kong law professor Johannes Chan said people could simply be mourning out of sympathy for a person who has died, or to show their discontent with the government.

Social work professor Paul Yip, from the same university, said people may only be expressing their grief, and it doesn’t necessarily mean they support the attack.

In Legco, lawmakers accused the scholars of encouraging acts of terrorism.

The DAB’s Leung Che-cheung asked Tang whether the authorities consider their remarks to be connected to terrorism.

In response, without naming anyone, the security chief said it is immoral for people to find excuses for terrorist acts.

“Depending on individual cases, we will see whether we have evidence to make arrests and take our prosecutions,” Tang said.

“But irrespective of that, if you encourage people to sympathise with such attackers, then you are asking people to sympathise with such terrorists. Then they are going to support these terrorists, and ultimately they will become terrorists themselves.”

In an apparent reference to Chan, Tang said he hopes the scholar concerned can sleep at night, being as Hong Kong may be “painted in blood” because of him.