Pro-China lawmaker stabbed in Hong Kong amid anti-government tensions

Ho told reporters that he was left with a chest wound just under an inch deep and that his ribs blocked the blade.

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By Linda Givetash

A pro-Beijing lawmaker in Hong Kong was stabbed on Wednesday amid rising opposition to China's control over the territory.

Video widely shared on social media shows a man stab Junius Ho as he was campaigning near a train station. The video shows a man appear hand Ho a bouquet of yellow flowers before taking a weapon out of his bag and stabbing him.

After receiving medical treatment Wednesday, Ho told local reporters that he was left with a chest wound just under an inch deep and that his ribs blocked the blade from doing greater damage.

One suspect is in police custody, according to the Hong Kong government who condemned the attack and said it "will not tolerate any act of violence."

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"The citizens of Hong Kong need to be peaceful, sensible and respectful to one another when expressing their views," a government statement said.

The territory has been gripped by increasingly violent protests for months as anti-government activists demand political reform and the protection of historic democratic rights.

The protests were initially sparked by a now-withdrawn extradition bill in June, but have since morphed to include demands for Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam to step down and greater democratic freedoms.

Ho has become a hated figure among protesters after a demonstration in his constituency turned violent in July, leaving 45 people injured. Ho was seen shaking hands with some of the attackers involved in the incident, although he has denied any collusion claiming he hadn't been aware of the violence at the time.

The scene of a stabbing during election campaign outside Pierhead Garden, Tuen Mun, Hong Kong.Galileo Cheng

Wednesday's attack occurred a day after Hong Kong's chief executive Carrie Lam met with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of a trade event.

Xi offered his support and trust in Lam and her team, according to a report from Chinese state broadcaster CCTV, while calling for unswerving efforts to stop and punish violent activities in order to return Hong Kong to peaceful order.

Lam said she would continue efforts to control the demonstrations — which includes bans on protests and the use of face coverings — in order to uphold the "principle of 'one country, two systems'" and "put an end to the violence."

Ho has not been the only lawmaker to face attacks. On Sunday, district councilor Andrew Chiu had part of his ear bitten off during a demonstration at a shopping mall.

Police have fired back at demonstrations with tear gas, water cannon and rubber bullets — measures that have protesters and other international groups raise questions over the excessive use of force.

Caroline Radnofsky, Ed Flanagan and Associated Press contributed.