Hong Kong protest organizer attacked with hammers and knives

Published 11:37 PM EDT, Wed October 16, 2019
In this picture taken on August 20, 2019, Jimmy Sham, convener of the Civil Human Rights Front (CHRF), poses during an interview with AFP in Hong Kong. - Armed with smartphones and imagination, a handful of fellow volunteers from the Civil Human Rights Front (CHRF) are the driving force behind pulling huge numbers of people to the city
PHOTO: ANTHONY WALLACE/AFP/Getty Images
In this picture taken on August 20, 2019, Jimmy Sham, convener of the Civil Human Rights Front (CHRF), poses during an interview with AFP in Hong Kong. - Armed with smartphones and imagination, a handful of fellow volunteers from the Civil Human Rights Front (CHRF) are the driving force behind pulling huge numbers of people to the city's streets in Hong Kong's biggest political rallies in decades. (Photo by Anthony WALLACE / AFP) / TO GO WITH HongKong-politics-unrest-protest-organisers,FOCUS by Emma Clark and Yan Zhao (Photo credit should read ANTHONY WALLACE/AFP/Getty Images)
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(CNN) —  

The leader of one of Hong Kong’s most prominent pro-democracy groups was hospitalized Wednesday evening after being attacked by a group of men wielding hammers and knives.

Jimmy Sham, convenor of the Civil Human Rights Front (CHRF), which has organized some of the largest protests during Hong Kong’s four-month-long civil unrest, suffered wounds to the back of his skull and forehead, police said.

Photos from the incident showed Sham lying on the street covered in blood.

Warning: The images below have graphic content.

Hong Kong Police said Sham was attacked by four males “of non-Chinese descent” who were wearing masks and dressed in black, Chief Inspector of Mong Kok District, Ng Tak-nam, said in a press conference late Wednesday.

Blood is seen beyond a police cordon, where Jimmy Sham was assaulted on October 16, 2019.
PHOTO: PHILIP FONG/AFP/Getty Images
Blood is seen beyond a police cordon, where Jimmy Sham was assaulted on October 16, 2019.

Some of the assailants set upon Sham with hammers while others used knives in the attack, which happened at 7:40 p.m. local time (7:40 a.m. ET) in Kowloon’s Mong Kok district, Ng said. The attackers fled the scene in a private car and are still at large.

The CHRF said in a statement that Sham was conscious when taken to hospital where he received “emergency treatment.” He is now in a stable condition.

It is the second time the activist has been attacked in less than two months. On August 29, Sham was attacked by masked men carrying baseball bats and knives in Kowloon district. On the same day, police banned a rally and march planned by the CHRF that weekend.

The group condemned the assault and called on police to conduct a thorough investigation to find the perpetrators. They are waiting for police approval for another protest on Sunday.

“It is not hard to link this incident to a spreading political terror in order to threaten and inhibit the legitimate exercise of natural and legal rights,” the CHRF said in a statement.

Police condemned the “cruel and pre-planned violent incident” and said they had “assigned staff to safeguard Sham in hospital.”

Civil Human Rights Front convenor Jimmy Sham sustained head injuries when he was attacked by a group of masked men. He is now in a stable condition.
PHOTO: From Facebook
Civil Human Rights Front convenor Jimmy Sham sustained head injuries when he was attacked by a group of masked men. He is now in a stable condition.

Amnesty International has urged Hong Kong authorities to launch a “prompt and thorough investigation into a brutal attack.”

“Jimmy Sham was left bleeding on the street and has been hospitalized with head injuries. Even in the context of increasing attacks on activists, this incident is shocking in its brutality,” Joshua Rosenzweig, Head of Amnesty International’s East Asia Regional Office, said in a statement.

The incident comes a day after Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam was forced to abandon her annual police address after pro-democracy lawmakers repeatedly disrupted her speech and heckled her with calls to honor the demands of months-long anti-government protests.

Her address had been seen as a key opportunity for Lam to begin to remedy some of the perceived factors behind the unrest, such as widespread inequality and limited access to public housing.