A man was hit over the head with a drain cover by a masked assailant while clearing protesters’ roadblocks in Hong Kong in the early hours of Sunday, sparking a manhunt.
Police said the 53-year-old suffered serious head injuries from the attack at the junction of Nathan Road and Mong Kok Road in Mong Kok, where the victim was removing barricades at about 1am.
A police spokesman said they “seriously condemned the violent behaviour of the rioter” and have attached “great importance” to the case.
“Police absolutely do not tolerate anyone who uses violence to achieve their aims,” the spokesman said.
“We will take law enforcement action resolutely to restore order in society and bring all lawbreakers to justice.”
Police Commissioner Chris Tang Ping-keung said the man could have been killed when he was hit by what he called a drain cover.
The case has been classified as assault and theft by police after the victim’s mobile phone was stolen. No one had been arrested, as of Sunday afternoon.
The victim was taken to Kwong Wah Hospital in Yau Ma Tei for treatment. He was discharged later in the day.
A video capturing the incident showed the victim removing barricades on his own when several masked protesters approached him, yelling abuse.
He then took out his mobile phone in an apparent attempt to record what was happening. A man wearing a mask moved suddenly towards him and hit him with the hard object.
The victim, who remained conscious after the attack, fell and was seen bleeding from his head. A first aid volunteer moved in to help stem the blood flow.
The footage was shared on Weibo, a popular microblogging site in mainland China. Internet users commented on the levels of hatred the attacker must have had for his victim to carry out such an act.
On Saturday night, large groups of protesters gathered in Mong Kok and Prince Edward in Kowloon. They took to the streets exactly three months after riot police violently dispersed people inside Prince Edward MTR station and on a train.
Police fired tear gas in Mong Kok on Saturday night towards radical protesters, who were blocking roads and had set fire to an entrance of Mong Kok railway station.
The protests began in June in opposition to a now-withdrawn extradition bill that would have allowed the transfer of fugitives to mainland China, among other jurisdictions.
The demonstrations have since escalated into a much wider anti-government movement that has resulted in increasingly violent clashes between radical protesters and police across the city.
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