Hong Kong police have arrested a man for allegedly inciting others to attack officers, in the third such detention in two days after a 50-year-old assailant stabbed a constable in the back before killing himself last week.
The suspect, 34, was taken into custody on Monday after allegedly leaving comments in an online forum on Friday, encouraging others to “chop police officers”.
Police were also separately investigating a bomb scare at the Tuen Mun office of soy milk giant Vitasoy, which was the employer of the knifeman who was behind the stabbing on Thursday.
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On the latest arrest, Superintendent Wilson Tam Wai-shun of the cyber security and technology crime bureau said: “The online wordings included chopping policemen ... He also listed some dates, saying they were days for chopping police officers.
“The remarks were made after the attack on July 1, so I believe they are connected.”
The man was arrested in Yau Ma Tei in the morning and officers seized two smartphones. The force is investigating whether he was linked to any political group, Tam added.
In the attack on Thursday, the assailant walked up behind the constable and pulled out a knife which he plunged into the back of the constable outside the Sogo shopping centre in Causeway Bay. The assailant, a purchasing agent at Vitasoy, then stabbed himself in the chest and was later pronounced dead in hospital. The officer underwent surgery and was recovering.
Tam said people continued to post inciting messages online, encouraging others to attack officers through different violent means.
Asked whether individuals who expressed support for the calls would also be breaking the law, Tam said officers would evaluate each case individually.
“We have to see each case independently and what the comments were about. It is difficult to say whether giving a thumb up means agreeing with the acts,” Tam explained.
On Sunday, the force arrested a man and a woman on suspicion of using social media to incite others to set fire to Hong Kong police stations and murder officers. Tam said the pair remained in detention.
Police’s national security unit has taken charge of the investigation into Thursday’s attack. In a raid on the assailant’s home carried out shortly afterwards, police seized suicide notes expressing hatred for the force and the one-year-old national security law.
Security minister Chris Tang Ping-keung described the man as a lone-wolf attacker who had committed an act of domestic terrorism, while police on Sunday said he had been “radicalised by myriad fake information”.
Separately on Monday morning, police were called to the Tuen Mun office of Vitasoy to investigate a report of criminal intimidation after receiving a call from a male employee at 11.15am.
The employee told police that a person had claimed on the internet that a bomb would be placed in its Ho Tin Street office.
A force spokesman said officers searched the area but no suspicious object was found.
Officers from the Tuen Mun criminal investigation unit are handling the case, which has been classified as criminal intimidation. No arrests had been made.
Vitasoy has found itself thrust into the spotlight after an internal memo expressed condolences to the family of the dead assailant. The company said on Sunday the memo was written without official approval and apologised for causing distress to the community. The company had also earlier expressed support for the police investigation into the July 1 attack.
But on Monday, shares in the Hong Kong-listed company dived as much as 15 per cent before recovering slightly to close 12 per cent down at HK$25.95 (US$3.34), wiping out US$475 million (US$61.15 million) in market value in the stock’s worst single-day performance since March 30 last year.
The stock can be traded by investors on mainland China through the Stock Connect scheme.
This article Hong Kong police arrest man on suspicion of inciting others to attack officers first appeared on South China Morning Post