HONG KONG: Hong Kong’s youngest legislator Nathan Law was attacked by anti-independence protesters at the city’s airport late Sunday after flying back from a political forum in Taiwan.
Law, 23, was met by a crowd of angry pro-Beijing demonstrators in the arrivals hall, shouting, throwing liquid in his face and trying to hit him as police struggled to bundle him through.
It came after Law and other high-profile Hong Kong pro-democracy activists, including Joshua Wong, had been greeted by protests in Taipei as they arrived for the forum on Saturday.
The two-day event was aimed at linking democracy movements in Hong Kong and Taiwan.
Law is one of a new wave of legislators who supports the idea of self-determination for semi-autonomous Hong Kong — a notion that has infuriated Beijing.
At one point during the attack at Hong Kong airport on Sunday, television footage showed Law stumbling down a staircase after a water bottle was thrown at him.
Protesters shouted: “Trip and die!” and one called Law a “traitor”.
They also held banners that read: “Get out of Hong Kong” and “Destroy Hong Kong independence”.
Two people were arrested, according to local media reports. Police were not able to immediately confirm any arrests.
Law’s political party Demosisto said he had been injured, but gave no further details on Monday.
Once a taboo concept, the idea of independence for Hong Kong has gathered momentum since mass protests in 2014 failed to win political reform and fears have grown that Beijing is tightening its grip on the city.
Two pro-independence lawmakers were last year barred from taking up their seats in the legislature.
Law and three other pro-democracy lawmakers will face a court hearing in February that will also seek to disqualify them.
The forum in Taipei was hosted by Taiwan’s New Power Party, which is advocating for recognition of Taiwan as a nation.
The Hong Kong activists’ visit provoked a hostile reception from groups on the island who support reunification with China, over what they see as a joint independence movement.
Even though Taiwan has been self-ruling since the end of a civil war on the mainland in 1949, China still sees it as part of its territory.
Beijing has threatened to take action if Taiwan ever formally declares independence.