Local news outlets have just revealed that the man arrested for hurling an office chair off a building in Hong Kong’s busy Mong Kok district early yesterday morning and killing a man as he walked below was a “new immigrant,” a term denoting mainlanders who have recently settled in Hong Kong. The suspect, surnamed Tang, moved to the SAR from Hainan with his parents five years ago, and has been described as chronically depressed and mentally unstable. When police reached the rooftop he said to them, “someone told me to throw the chair!” No one else was found on the rooftop, and although police are investigating the possibility that he had a companion, it is also likely that he was hallucinating. Tang, unemployed, lived in the building opposite from where he threw the chair, in a flat paid for by his father.
Doubtless, this will be adding more grist to the mill of anti-mainland sentiment that is already seething in Hong Kong. After the intense housing estate standoff that Hong Kong witnessed earlier this month, people are going to get the impression that every time there’s a random, meaningless killing of an innocent bystander there’s a “new immigrant” behind it. As soon as the details about the killer’s identity emerged, Hong Kong forums were predictably awash with vicious remarks ascribing the man’s actions more to his place of origin then his mental health issues or emotional state.
Of course, it doesn’t help that the State Council released an assertive white paper this week that many have interpreted as a deliberate attempt to scare Hongkongers into submission before the planned Occupy Central demonstrations later this month to demand universal suffrage. Combined with the eyesore that the PLA has just introduced to Hong Kong’s world-famous skyline, this just isn’t a good week for Hong Kong-mainland relations—but when has there ever been one?
By Ryan Kilpatrick