Hong Kong mob protesters rule the streets

Updated: 2019-11-23 07:34

(HK Edition)

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On the streets and in the grounds of their university near the harbourfront on the Kowloon side of Hong Kong, masked students draw powerful bows and fire sharpened arrows at police and civilians with reckless abandon.

They fill drums with petrol and loot dangerous chemicals from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University's science laboratories to create highly flammable weapons and throw fire at police.

In this volatile atmosphere, anyone who publicly challenges their cause, who seeks to call out the violence and the damage, is at risk of fierce reprisal.

The strategy has been working.

Hong Kong mob protesters rule the streets

A Hong Kong-based lawyer friend and long-time contact yelled at me on Monday while echoing the sentiments of many here, furious at what they see as "appalling bias" in reporting which has glossed over the violence and vandalism of the protesters.

"You're a journalist and you guys are responsible for a lot of this now. Every camera is pointed in one direction to paint this false narrative of the police as brutal bastards and the protesters as heroic democrats with a noble cause," he said. "The coverage emboldens them and now they think they can get away with anything."

My friend is a fearless defence lawyer but he won't go on the record. "There's mob rule and people who speak out against it risk getting their heads kicked in."

Many here are now cowed into silence.

Excerpt from an op-ed by Hedley Thomas published in The Australian on Nov 19.

(HK Edition 11/23/2019 page2)