A middle-aged man has been arrested in connection with a knife attack on a female teacher outside a Kowloon secondary school as students’ class boycotts and human-chain protests entered their second week.
Thousands of pupils formed human chains outside schools on Monday morning as they continued to push the government to meet their five demands despite last week’s pledge to withdraw the extradition bill.
Numbers taking part in class boycotts were low last week due to some schools not letting students join strikes or requiring permission from parents. On Monday most students opted to form human chains before class started at about 8am, rather than join the boycotts.
At the human chain outside Cognitio College in Kowloon, a man injured a teacher who was trying to protect students, according to a representative of the school.
A video circulating online showed an agitated, shirtless man in blue shorts, waving a box-cutter at people dressed in black, with some onlookers trying to calm him.
A police spokesman said they got a call at about 9am about the attack. The force said the teacher, 33, suffered hand injuries and was taken to Queen Elizabeth Hospital. The man had left before officers arrived.
At about 8pm, police arrested a 65-year-old man in a flat in nearby Kai Ching Estate for wounding. He was detained.
The school representative said no students were hurt in the attack.
At PLK Vicwood KT Chong Sixth Form College, Tai Kok Tsui, a human chain was disrupted when an alumnus was injured by a falling object, according to a school representative. It was unclear where the object came from.
Students from more than 120 schools across the city took part in the collective action, with hundreds linking hands in districts such as Kwai Tsing, Yau Tsim Mong and Tsz Wan Shan.
A Form Five student at Methodist Lee Wai Lee College, surnamed Choi, was one of about 1,000 students who took part in the human chain in Kwai Tsing, wearing gear such as helmets and gas masks.
But a 17-year-old Form Six pupil from the same school, surnamed Law, said he planned to skip classes once a week.
The Hong Kong Student Strike Alliance, which initiated the class boycott, recanted a statement made in an August 29 press conference that warned of an escalation of actions if the government did not respond to the five demands before September 13.
Carrie Lam announced the withdrawal of the extradition bill last week, followed by four actions such as adding two new members to the Independent Police Complaints Council, holding more dialogue with the public and investigating deep-rooted social issues.
Yet, these were not enough to satisfy many of the students, who continue to demand an independent commission to investigate alleged police misconduct.
Capillin Wong, a 14-year-old student from Wa Ying College in Ho Man Tin, said she and many of her peers continued to come out to draw attention to what they see as police brutality. She has been to almost all of the legal protests in the movement so far, she said, but remains pessimistic.
“Withdrawing the extradition bill already took Carrie Lam more than two months; how much longer should we wait until the other four demands are met? Eight more months?” Wong said.
The anti-government movement sprang up in response to the bill, which would have allowed Hong Kong to transfer fugitives to jurisdictions with which it lacked an extradition agreement, including mainland China.
Students taking part in the protests are not only facing pressure from schools, but also a new group set up by controversial pro-Beijing lawmaker Junius Ho Kwan-yiu, called the “grass roots anti-class boycott concern group”.
Ho has criticised class strikes as political interference on campuses, adding his group would monitor more than 100 schools and submit a report of its findings to the Education Bureau.
Outside Carmel Pak U Secondary School in Tai Po, more than 300 students and alumni formed a human chain in support of an injured classmate and to condemn what they say is police brutality, with many wearing face masks and chanting the slogan “five demands, not one less”.
Five students from the school were arrested on Saturday evening at Tai Po Market MTR station, where protesters clashed with police after damaging station facilities. One of the arrested, a Form Six student, was hurt on his head, shoulder and hand.
In addition to students in school uniform, the human chains also attracted parents and alumni, many of whom wore black.
A Diocesan Girls’ School (DGS) alumnus, who gave her surname as Lo, took part in the human chain outside the school in Yau Ma Tei, dressed in black and holding a sign that read “Old girls support you”.
“I want to come out and support fellow DGS alumni and current students voicing their opinions. The school might not want students to spread their message, so it’s important for us to be here and make sure their voices are not silenced,” she said.
At a human chain in Tsz Wan Shan, the mother of a Form Six student at Our Lady’s College, Mrs Wong, joined other students and past pupils.
“I want to strive for ‘five demands’ with my daughter and everyone else here,” she said.
More class strike activities were being planned, with the Platform of Class Boycotts in Secondary School – jointly organised by student groups Demovanile, Anti-Foo and Demosisto – looking to hold a class boycott rally in Sha Tin on Friday.
Linda Lew, Gigi Choy, Kelly Fung, Veronica Lin, Rhea Mogul and Joanne Ma
More from South China Morning Post:
- Hong Kong protests: pupils shy away from class boycotts, but thousands champion anti-government demands in schools, forming human chains and wearing masks
- Hong Kong school boycott continues as hundreds turn out in support and call on Carrie Lam to meet all demands made by anti-government protesters
- Students at Hong Kong secondary schools form human chains as part of class boycott, with pupils at one accusing management of restricting freedom of expression