A Hong Kong barrister has claimed pro-democracy protesters are ‘spoiling for a crackdown’ and are intent on turning Hong Kong into a ‘war zone’ with the help of the UK and US media.
Speaking to the Gazette at a media briefing organised by the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, Alan Hoo QC said that mass demonstrations are ‘devastating the Hong Kong economy and the daily lives of the people’ and protesters are ‘promoting a culture of hate rather than discussion’. He claimed that the working class had been hit particularly hard and that many hospitality staff had been laid off.
Hoo, is chairman of Hong Kong’s Basic Law Institute, a non-governmental organisation. He is one of the most prominent pro-Beijing voices in the Hong Kong legal community. He claimed today that demonstrators are on a ‘path to destruction not construction’ and ‘want the People’s Liberation Army to come out’.
‘Protesters are trying to make Hong Kong into a war zone with the help of international media to make it sound more persuasive than it actually is,’ he said, adding that the Hong Kong government had suffered an ‘unfair coordinated media attack’.
Martin Rogers, Hong Kong partner of Davis Polk & Wardwell and consultant for the Basic Law Institute, said: ‘It is distressing to me that the media hasn’t been particularly balanced…The police have shown remarkable restraint.’
Rogers argued that 'appropriate prosecutions’ are key to ending the demonstrations. He said: ‘If we get prosecutions going for sheer unadulterated violence, if 500 or 1,000 people go to jail for that, it will take the wind out of the violence.’
However Professor Michael Ng-Quinn, a political science specialist with connections to the Basic Law Institute, said the Chinese military should be brought in. ‘The People’s Liberation Army should have been deployed as early as July,’ he said. ‘There is not enough police power, people power, in Hong Kong.’
Ng-Quinn added that young protestors are ‘acting like they are living in video games’ and alluded to rumours that they are being trained by foreign agents.