They came with white flowers to honor a man accused of attempted murder.
His victim was a seemingly random police officer – and for some in Hong Kong, that not only justified the violence, it was cause for commemoration.
Over the past week, a steady trail of visitors have turned the July 1 crime scene into a memorial. Families have brought their young children to mourn the knifeman, who fatally turned his weapon on himself shortly after the attack. The student union of prestigious Hong Kong University passed a motion to say they “appreciated his sacrifice.” And the man’s employer, beverage company Vitasoy, saw its stock dip 14.6%, its biggest plunge since going public in 1994, after it offered condolences to the attacker’s family in a leaked internal memo. Online, some have hailed him a hero.
To them, the attacker died fighting an unelected regime that has stifled dissent. In the year since Beijing imposed a draconian national security law on Hong Kong, a newspaper has been closed, public protest appears to have been banned, and nearly all of the city’s leading pro-democracy figures, including activists and politicians, have either been jailed or forced into exile.