File photo: Hong Kong protests Photograph:( AFP )
Hong Kong's Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng suffered ''serious bodily harm'' after an altercation with the protesters in London
China's British embassy expressed dismay over the attack on a Hong Kong government official in London on Friday.
Hong Kong's Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng suffered ''serious bodily harm'' after an altercation with the protesters in London, who displayed solidarity with the activists back home. This marked the first direct altercation between demonstrators and a government minister during months of often violent protests. Video footage of the incident showed Cheng falling to the ground.
According to a statement, the Chinese embassy urged the local police to launch an investigation into the incident and to further protect Hong Kong officials in the United Kingdom.
On Friday, the Hong Kong office of China's Foreign Ministry claimed to have expressed their concerns to the British consulate.
Earlier today, the Hong Kong government also condemned the attack on the justice secretary in London by referring to the protesters as a ''violent mob''.
Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng was in London to discuss dispute resolutions, but was targeted by protesters who shouted "murderer" and "shameful".
Hong Kong's leader Carrie Lam said in a statement she strongly condemned what she described as an attack on Cheng.
The Hong Kong government said in a separate statement: "The secretary denounces all forms of violence and radicalism depriving others' legitimate rights in the pretext of pursuing their political ideals, which would never be in the interest of Hong Kong and any civilised society."
The incident came amid escalating violence in Chinese-ruled Hong Kong, where a student protester died earlier this month after falling from a parking lot during demonstrations.
Anti-government protesters paralysed parts of Hong Kong for a fifth day on Friday, forcing schools to close and blocking some highways as students built barricades in university campuses and authorities struggled to tame the violence.
Protesters used barriers and other debris to block the Cross-Harbour Tunnel that links Hong Kong island to Kowloon district, leading to severe traffic congestion. The government once again urged employers to adopt flexible working arrangements amid the chaos.
Thousands of students remain hunkered down at several universities, surrounded by piles of food, bricks, petrol bombs, catapults and other homemade weapons.
Police said the prestigious Chinese University had "become a manufacturing base for petrol bombs" and the students' actions were "another step closer to terrorism".
Around 4,000 people, aged between 12 and 83, have been arrested since the unrest escalated in June.
The demonstrations have paralysed parts of the city and battered the retail and tourism sectors, with widespread disruptions across the financial centre and no end in sight to the violence and vandalism.
(With inputs from Reuters)