An anti-government attacker has stabbed and injured a pro-Beijing Hong Kong politician who was campaigning for an election.
Junius Ho has become a hated figure by anti-government protesters over his alleged links to violence against them.
After receiving initial medical treatment, Ho told reporters the knife had been blocked by his rib cage and he was left with a minor wound.
The government condemned the attack and said police arrested the assailant. Mr Ho, two of his assistants and the attacker were all injured.
A video circulating on social media showed a man giving flowers to Mr Ho and asking permission to take a picture with him. Instead, the man drew a knife from his bag and stabbed Mr Ho’s chest but was quickly overpowered by Mr Ho and several others.
The man kept hurling abusive comments at Mr Ho, calling him “human scum”.
Mr Ho has been targeted by anti-government protesters since July 21, when armed masked men in white T-shirts violently attacked demonstrators and passengers at a subway station in northern Yuen Long, injuring 45 people.
That attack marked a dark turn in the protests that began in early June, and demonstrators have accused police of being slow to respond or even colluding with the attackers. Police later said members of triad gangs, a branch of organised crime, were involved. Mr Ho was seen shaking hands with some of the attackers that night.
Mr Ho, whose constituency includes Yuen Long, denied colluding with triads. He said he bumped into the men after dinner and thanked them for “defending their homes” but said he did not know about the violence until later.
Protesters have trashed Mr Ho’s office several times and desecrated his parents’ graves.
Mr Ho was campaigning for district elections on November 24 to pick 452 councillors, a low-level poll held every four years but closely watched this year as a gauge of public sentiment at the time of prolonged protests that have hardened positions in both camps.
The seats are currently dominated by the pro-establishment bloc but the violence sparked concerns the polls may be postponed.
The city’s biggest pro-establishment party voiced renewed concerns over safety, saying there were 150 incidents of their candidates being harassed and their offices vandalised in the last month, local media reported.
Many have seen a now-shelved China extradition bill that triggered the unrest as a sign of Beijing infringing on Hong Kong’s judicial freedoms and other rights guaranteed when the former British colony returned to China in 1997.
Apart from Mr Ho, there have also been attacks on pro-democracy figures. A knife-wielding man bit off part of the ear of district councillor Andrew Chiu after earlier slashing two people on Sunday night.
Jimmy Sham, a leader of one of the city’s largest pro-democracy group, was attacked by hammer-wielding assailants last month.