Controversial pro-Beijing Hong Kong lawmaker Junius Ho Kwan-yiu, who has supported violence against protesters, on Thursday called for the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to prepare for military action to restore order in the city.
“At this crucial juncture, if Hong Kong reaches an uncontrollable state, we will deal with the situation,” Ho said in a videotaped message, holding up a copy of Hong Kong’s Basic Law and citing the passages that would justify calling in the Chinese military.
Ho conceded that asking Beijing to send in the troops would “have a significant impact on Hong Kong,” so he proposed invoking a different legal article to activate the Chinese soldiers already garrisoned on the island and task them with helping the police to “stabilize the political situation.”
“Of course, first of all, the HKSAR [Hong Kong Special Administrative Region] government and the police need to stop the series of ‘recovery actions’ in the name of peace marches,” he continued. “All these actions need to be stopped. This will give us time to restore the tranquility of Hong Kong.”
“Recovery action” is a term used by some protesters for their activities, as they have adopted the slogan “Recover Hong Kong,” by which they mean recovering its autonomy from Chinese domination. Some of the protesters enjoy irking Beijing by waving British flags and musing that life might be better if the U.K. “recovered” Hong Kong as a colony. Ho’s statement effectively accused the protesters of being separatists disguised as human rights activists.
“The Chief Executive and the police must confront this problem and stand up firmly to say ‘no’ to all acts of violence,” Ho demanded.
Ho was singing a very different tune this week when he justified the savage mob beating of activists and bystanders at a Hong Kong railway station. Ho defended the white-clad club-wielding attackers, who have been linked to organized crime syndicates, as frightened citizens of the rural area he represents who were merely defending their homes from the dangerous protest movement.
A video clip emerged of Ho gratefully shaking hands on Sunday night with white-clad men who looked suspiciously like members of the mob. “Some of them I know – some are village chiefs, teachers, shop owners, and car mechanics,” he said.
Ho excused the train station attack as a “normal reaction to protesters who brought violence to the peaceful community after they stormed the liaison office,” a reference to protest activity on Sunday.
“We can’t pardon the sin, but we can pardon the sinners,” he added.
Ho’s critics accused him of doing a lot more than swinging by the Yuen Long area to press the flesh with a few village chiefs and car mechanics after they cudgeled a trainload of passengers. The lawmaker found himself fending off accusations that he helped to organize the attack, insisting that the “white-clad men had already said they would drive the mob in black away if the latter dared to come to Yuen Long.” The protesters have a preference for black clothing.
Ho became enraged on Tuesday when the graves of his parents were defaced with graffiti accusing him of colluding with triad gangsters to set up the Yuen Long attack.
“You can come to me and talk if you have issues with me. You don’t have to mess with my parents’ graves,” he told the unknown perpetrators. “If you are willing to confess, my parents and I will forgive you.”
Ho blew his stack in a Tuesday television interview when opposition lawmaker Eddie Chu Hoi-dick refused to demand a halt to the protest marches scheduled for this weekend.
“You are a lawmaker who brought violence into the Legislative Council,” Ho raged at Chu. “Now you are spreading violence to communities on a scale a hundred times larger. You are an outright scumbag!”
“There are two paths in front of you. One is survival while the other is non-survival. You should make the choice as soon as possible,” Ho snarled at Chu before storming off the stage.
A group of protesters pelted Ho’s office with eggs and smashed the windows after the photos of him shaking hands with suspected Yuen Long thugs emerged. The following day, a group of demonstrators at his office chanted “Evil Ho harms citizens and colludes with thugs!” and made him the subject of one of their signature “Lennon Walls,” a wall covered with colorful Post-It notes. Some of the Post-It’s on Ho’s Lennon Wall said unflattering things about his mother.
Ho, a lawyer by trade, has been threatened with disciplinary action by the Hong Kong Law Society for “bringing disrepute to the profession” by supporting the train station attack. There have also been calls for the board of Lingnan University, which he sits on, to investigate him.
A sympathetic profile in China’s state-run Global Times said his personal and family information have been posted online, leading to hundreds of crank calls and threats. The Chinese Communist paper was furious at Hong Kong media for underplaying the harassment Ho has experienced.
Ho is very big on the Communist Party line that Hong Kong’s protest movement was secretly organized and directed by the United States and Britain. He told the Global Times that “U.S. interference in Hong Kong has been obvious since February.”
Ironically, Ho is also the subject of rumors that he secretly plans to obtain U.S. citizenship and flee Hong Kong. An online petition has been set up at the web page of the White House to deny Ho and his immediate family members entry to the United States on the grounds that he “explicitly engaged in the incitement of violence and terrorist activities.”
In his Thursday video message, Ho declared himself committed to “maintaining Hong Kong’s stability, prosperity, and China’s national security and territorial integrity.”
“The right path is always hard and torturous, but there must be righteousness in the world,” he said. “I am not afraid of dark forces and their interference. I will stand firmly and will not give in to these issues. Let’s break all the dark forces together.”