Hong Kong’s leader on Saturday visited the wife of a construction worker who was set alight by a protester and gave her HK$300,000 that a labour union had raised.
Lee Chi-cheung, a 57-year-old father of two, has been in hospital since the attack on November 11 after he had chased a group of masked protesters who had vandalised Ma On Shan MTR station.
Lee confronted a group of protesters, before being doused with flammable liquid and set alight. He suffered second-degree burns on 28 per cent of his body, mainly his chest and arms.
Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor was the highest-ranking local official to meet Lee’s family, after Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po visited Lee in hospital on December 15.
Writing on her Facebook page on Saturday, Lam revealed that she has met Lee’s wife on Saturday, alongside Stanley Ng Chau-pei, the president of the pro-Beijing Federation of Trade Unions, as well as FTU vice-president Chow Luen-kiu, from the Hong Kong Construction Industry Employees General Union.
“After several rounds of surgery, Mr Lee is still in hospital. To show their care, some of my construction sector friends raised HK$100,000 and gave it to Mrs Lee earlier,” Lam wrote.
“I, together with them, gave her another HK$300,000 in donations today, and extended our sympathy to her and Mr Lee. We hope he will get well soon.”
Lam took the opportunity to hit out at Lee’s attackers, saying they had failed to tolerate different views held by other people.
“Rioters ... arbitrarily take things into their own hands, intimidating and attacking the innocent, and [in this case] setting a person alight,” she wrote.
Police have classified the case as attempted murder and arrested at least two people on suspicion of disorder in a public place on that day. But no one has yet to be arrested on suspicion of attempted murder.
Lam lamented that days after the attack, clashes between anti-government protesters and residents in Sheung Shui claimed the life of a 70-year-old contract cleaner for the government, surname Luo, after he was struck by a brick.
That incident was being treated as murder and the force arrested five teenagers, aged 15 to 18, last month in connection with the case.
Lam said that apart from threatening residents’ personal safety, radical protesters had also sought to silence dissent by doxxing or vandalising shops.
“It is infuriating that rioters’ barbaric and despicable acts are hidden or glorified, because of some media outlets’ biased reporting, as well as fake information and rumours on the internet,” she said.