Jimmy Sham is the leader of the Civil Human Rights Front in Hong Kong. On October 16, the organization said that Sham had been beaten up by four to five men in Mongkok.
A tweet from the Civil Human Rights Front tweeted that the attack occurred at 7:40 p.m. local time. It is unclear who was behind the attack.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. The Attack Has Been Described as an Act of ‘Political Terror’
Sham’s group has described the incident as an act of “political terror.” The CHRF advocates non-violence and is behind the pro-democracy movement that is sweeping through Hong Kong. During the summer of 2019, the group organized a series of protests against a bill that allowed Hong Kong citizens to be extradited to mainland China.
A photo, purporting to show Sham lying in a pool of blood has been spread across Twitter.
2. Sham Was Conscious When He Was Brought to a Local Hospital for Treatment
A later tweet from the CHRF said that Sham was conscious when he was brought to Kwong Wah Hospital for treatment. The organization said in their message, “[We] strongly condemned the acts of the murderers, and the incident was even more reminiscent of spreading political panic and creating a chilling effect.”
The Hong Kong Free Press reports that Sham was attacked along Arran Lane in Tai Kok Tsui while he was on his way to a CHRF meeting. The next CHRF protest is scheduled for October 20.
The day before the assault on Sham, the Wall Street Journal’s Jillian Kay Melchior named Sham, along with other several pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong as being targets of criminal violence due to their political activities.
3. Sham Was Last Targeted for Violence in August 2019
On August 29, the Hong Kong Free Press reported that Sham and another pro-democracy activist were attacked by men wielding a baseball bat and an iron tube. Sham said at the time that his friend suffered the brunt of the injuries, swelling to his arm. Sham was unharmed.
Sham told the website that he made a formal complaint to local police regarding the incident. Two men, aged 15 and 44, were arrested and charged in relation to the assault, the South China Morning Post reported.
4. Amnesty International Has Comdened the Attacks on Jimmy Sham
The director of Amnesty International Hong Kong, Man-kei Tam, said in response to that attempted attack on Sham, “This vile attack against Jimmy Sham appears to be a deliberate attempt to target a well-known pro-democracy activist. On top of terrifying physical threats Jimmy Sham also faced homophobic abuse. The Hong Kong police must launch a swift and proper investigation into these despicable events. The repeated harassment of pro-democracy activists, combined with police bans on demonstrations, has created a climate of fear for peaceful protesters. It is vital that the authorities send a clear message that those who target peaceful activists with such violence, irrespective of their political views, will face justice.”
5. Sham Has Been Involved With the Civil Human Rights Front Since 2014
Sham’s official title is the convener of the Civil Human Rights Front. He is also the secretary of the LGBT rights group, Rainbow of Hong Kong. Sham is also a member of the League of Social Democrats. Sham previously held the role of convener during the 2014 protests but left his leadership role attend college in 2015.
Following the violence that proceeded a protest in Hong Kong on the 70th of Chinese Communist rule in the country, Sham was quoted by Radio Free Asia as saying, “All the Civil Human Rights Front can do is tell citizens to stay safe, from the bottom of our hearts.” Sham’s organization had been forbidden from holding an official protest on the day, which led to Sham official canceling the group’s activities. Sham said of the decision to cancel, “This is a heartbreaking reality. From 1997 to now, in a short time of 20-odd years, Hong Kong has reached a state where we can’t hold demonstrations. We’re becoming more and more like Beijing.”