Three suspected triad members are believed to have been paid to carry out Monday’s attack on a chef at a restaurant that recently distanced itself from Hong Kong’s so-called yellow economic circle, a police source said on Tuesday. No political motive was thought to be involved.
The revelation came after police arrested a suspected Sun Yee On triad member in Yau Ma Tei on Monday night, more than 12 hours after the 42-year-old chef was ambushed outside the Tsim Sha Tsui branch of Lung Mun Café at 6.38am.
Get the latest insights and analysis from our Global Impact newsletter on the big stories originating in China.
“The 24-year-old suspect claimed he was paid about HK$3,000 (US$388) to carry out the attack,” the source said.
The source said initial investigation showed the attack was a personal matter and there was nothing to indicate it was linked to the restaurant or politically motivated.
As of Tuesday evening, the suspect was still being held for questioning but had not been charged. Police are still searching for the other two attackers as well as the identity of the person who allegedly paid them.
According to police, the victim, surnamed Wong, was attacked as he was about to enter the shop. There was a female staff member inside the cafe at the time of the incident.
‘Yellow economic circle’ takes a hit as protest-friendly shops in Hong Kong back off amid uncertainty over national security law
The three culprits, wearing surgical masks, hit Wong with blunt objects, kicked him and hurled glass bottles at him in an attack that lasted less than a minute.
The incident came less than a week after Cheung Chun-kit, the owner of the Lung Mun Cafe chain and a supporter of the protest movement, announced on Facebook that his chain was quitting the yellow economic circle.
The term refers to businesses that openly support the anti-government protest movement sparked by the now-withdrawn extradition bill in June of last year.
Cheung’s announcement was made on the day China’s top legislative body, the National People’s Congress Standing Committee, endorsed its new national security law for Hong Kong.