Hong Kong protests: man pleads guilty to wounding with intent for stabbing student in 2019

Jasmine Siu
·5-min read

A mainland Chinese man has pleaded guilty in a Hong Kong court to wounding with intent for slashing and stabbing a 19-year-old student who was handing out protest-related leaflets during the anti-government unrest of 2019.

The High Court heard cook Liu Guosheng, 24, attacked the student, identified only as X, after being confronted and scolded for tearing political posters from a so-called Lennon Wall – a public display of messages in support of the protests – in an underpass outside Tai Po Market MTR station on October 19, 2019.

A native of the Guangxi region, who had no prior convictions in Hong Kong, Liu was originally charged with attempted murder, but prosecutors agreed to accept his guilty plea to the lesser charge of wounding with intent. Both offences are punishable by life in prison.

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Senior public prosecutor Gary Leung said the cook had grabbed the student with one hand and used the other to slash his neck with a fruit knife two or three times.

Man turns himself in at police station after attacking teenager with knife near Lennon Wall

The student pushed Liu away and fled, only to find his attacker still chasing him. After running for about 50 metres, the victim tripped and fell to the ground, and Liu caught up again.

This time, Liu pressed the young man to the ground and stabbed him twice in the abdomen.

The High Court in Admiralty. Photo: Warton Li
The High Court in Admiralty. Photo: Warton Li

Eyewitnesses said the student bled profusely from his neck and abdomen, and cried out in pain, while Liu crossed the road and shouted: “Hong Kong belonged to China, you all disrupted Hong Kong.”

Liu then got into a taxi near the scene, telling the driver: “I killed someone, drive me to a police station.”

The driver recalled that Liu then asked whether it was possible to go to Lo Wu, to which he replied “no”, because it was a prohibited zone.

Liu responded: “Back to Lo Wu, I will be safe.”

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The driver Liu to Tai Po Police Station, where he admitted to attacking the student because of their political differences.

Under caution, Liu said: “I cannot tolerate these people damaging Hong Kong, therefore I used [a] knife to cut him.”

In subsequent interviews, Liu revealed he had bought the fruit knife – with an 11cm blade – after arriving in Hong Kong the day before.

He said he had come across the Lennon Wall when he was in Tai Po looking for cheap accommodation. He was confronted when he removed the posters, and was pushed and tussled.

At this point, Liu said he felt that “he had to stab someone”, and randomly chose a man at the scene, who turned out to be the student.

“Rubbish, wanted to disrupt Hong Kong,” he recounted himself saying as he ran away. “Hong Kong belonged to China.”

The student was admitted to hospital, with two cuts to the back of his neck and two stab wounds to his abdomen, one of which was so deep it exposed his small intestine. He stayed in an intensive care unit for three days, and was discharged from hospital on November 18, 2019.

Leung said the boy suffered from low mood, bad dreams, poor sleep and occasional daytime flashbacks consistent with an acute stress reaction that required attention from a clinical psychologist.

The student also required follow-up treatment for his injuries. Although his abdominal wounds have healed, doctors noted the injury and subsequent operation had increased his risk of developing an incisional hernia or adhesive intestinal obstruction in the future.

“It looks as if this particular victim is suffering horrendously because he has a number of suicidal thoughts and attempts,” Mr Justice Andrew Chan Hing-wai said.

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In mitigation, defence counsel Newman Wong Hing-wai said it was difficult to explain why his client attacked the student, as the events “clearly indicate a momentary loss of mind”.

But Wong also revealed that Liu had crossed the border because he considered himself a patriot and wanted to see for himself why people were on the streets, only to find himself “totally alienated, like in the middle of a pack of wolves who are trying to tear him up”. That explained why he had the knife without even planning the attack, Wong said.

But Chan did not accept that Liu bought the knife out of concern for his personal safety.

The injured student outside Tai Po Market MTR station. Photo: Facebook.
The injured student outside Tai Po Market MTR station. Photo: Facebook.

“Why did he come to Hong Kong?” the judge said. “He was in China, he was perfectly safe in Shenzhen.”

Wong conceded that did not make sense, but added he hoped Chan would not “take the view that this young man crossed the border with the specific intent to cause trouble”.

In response, the judge pointed out that the first thing Liu had done was buy the knife.

The counsel also said Liu wanted to apologise to the victim for what he did and to the court for the inconvenience caused.

Liu will be sentenced on May 14.

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