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Man abused by rioters doesn't regret being patriotic

By Staff writer in Hong Kong | | Updated: 2019-09-24 11:23
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HONG KONG - Chow Hiu-tung was brutally beaten up by radical anti-government protesters after telling them off for their disgraceful conduct on Sept 15. With his eyes still swollen, the 49-year-old, who had won unexpected fame on the internet after a video of the violent scene went viral, told reporters on Monday he has no regrets for what he said that day.

Several bruises on his body still serve as stark reminders of the bloody skirmishes. Chow has been discharged from hospital, but he lost three teeth in the attack.

It was about 4:50 pm, on Sept 15, and Chow had just finished work when he walked past a crowd of people protesting against the now-withdrawn extradition bill.

Recalling what happened near the crossroads of busy Gloucester Road and Marsh Road in Wan Chai, Chow said he saw some radical protesters marching along the street and waving national flags of the United States and Japan. Furious, Chow rebuked the protesters and shouted: "Love China! I am Chinese!"

For Chow, demonstrators waving Japan's national flag were particularly jarring to the eye. He said they clearly lack basic knowledge of the humiliating history of the nation and the city at the hands of the Japanese . "Have they ever heard about the nation's shame? Do they know Japan once occupied Hong Kong for three years and eight months?" Chow still can't help feeling anger.

However, some radical protesters approached him after hearing his comments. A video on the internet shows dozens of masked and black-clad rioters attacking Chow and assaulting him for over 30 seconds. Some tried to cover up the ugly scene with umbrellas.

Later the unconscious Chow, whose nose and mouth were bleeding, was hospitalized in critical condition. Online speculation at one point claimed he had died in hospital.

Chow said he would express his views again in a similar situation. But he admits this is a nerve-wracking prospect: "I will check whether I am alone or have companions - as these rioters are too violent."

Chow strongly condemned the violence, noting that these radicals had committed serious crimes and violated the rule of law.

On Monday, representatives from various sectors visited Chow. Ngan Chun-lim, a member of Hong Kong's Eastern District Council, said Chow's bravery was admirable.

Aron Kwok Wai-keung, a lawmaker and member of the Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions, said the incident was a wake-up call. It showed that violent acts by radical protesters had strayed far from the "freedom" and "democracy" they claim they are protesting for.

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