Hong Kong protests: police chief slams Chinese University student arrested over powder attack on staff as lacking ‘basic human conscience’

Christy Leung
·3-min read

Hong Kong’s police chief on Tuesday hit out at a Chinese University student who was arrested for throwing an unknown powder at security guards at the campus entrance, saying the suspect lacked the “basic conscience of a human being”.

Commissioner of Police Chris Tang Ping-keung, who is an alumnus of the university, spoke to the media after a separate visit to the Covid-19 contact-tracing command centre in Kai Tak.

Expressing anger at the attack, Tang said the force had so far arrested a CUHK student and was investigating whether other black-clad culprits were also from the same university.

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“It pained my heart to see suspected CUHK students involved in attacks and bullying. Since when did our university students become bullies and rioters who are so lawless?” Tang said.

Commissioner of Police Chris Tang. Photo: Sam Tsang
Commissioner of Police Chris Tang. Photo: Sam Tsang

“Their behaviour not only goes against the university’s motto ‘Through learning and temperance to virtue’, it does not even meet the requirement of basic conscience a human being should have.”

Tang urged society to condemn such attacks, as sheltering the culprits would only lead to them “sinking further into the mud”.

At around noon on Monday, at least seven perpetrators, clad in black and masked, charged the security barrier at the guard post near University MTR station in Sha Tin. The gang knocked down railings and threw an unknown white powder at security guards before fleeing in different directions.

Staff caught one of the assailants after a brief chase, while the others got away.

The 20-year old suspect was arrested over disorderly behaviour in a public place and assault. No student card was found on him at the time and he refused to answer any questions.

One of the guards complained of feeling unwell after coming into contact with the powder. He was sent to Prince of Wales Hospital in Sha Tin for treatment.

Hong Kong student arrested after group rushes security at Chinese University entrance

The university condemned the acts, saying it would fully cooperate with police to track down those involved.

The university later confirmed in a statement that the Sha Tin district crime squad visited the campus for investigation and evidence gathering with a search warrant from the court at about 3pm on Tuesday.

It added that representatives from relevant departments and legal advisers had spoken with the police about the situation, and that it would not comment further on the case as it was under investigation.

Eight student unions from the university had issued a joint statement on Monday to express anger over the institution’s handling of the incident, accusing the university of releasing what they called a partial description of the events, and alleging that security personnel had forcefully pulled a student into a vehicle and detained him.

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