An image, purportedly released by the pro-democracy activist group Civil Human Rights Front, claims to support the eviction of South Asian men from Chungking Mansions “to avenge the assault” on Jimmy Sham, the group’s convenor, who was attacked by men with hammers on Wednesday.
This claim is false. The image has been digitally manipulated from the original uploaded on Oct. 14 on the group’s Facebook page before a planned protest on Oct. 20.
Some local media initially reported that the assailants were of South Asian descent. Chungking Mansions is a building with a concentrated population of Africans and South Asians in the tourist area of Tsim Sha Tsui, where the planned public procession against the mask ban would have started.
The march was banned by the police, a decision upheld by an appeal board on public meetings and marches. The Civil Human Rights Front eventually called it off, but some of its members and pan-democratic lawmakers joined the march in their personal capacity.
The digitally manipulated image is identical to the original, save for the traditional Chinese text superimposed in the center of the image in red with a white border, which can be translated into English as:
“To seek justice for Jimmy Sham
Liberate Chungking Mansions
Evict South Asian men
Blood will have blood.”
Sham was assaulted in Tai Kok Tsui, a residential and industrial area on Oct. 16, two days after the original image was uploaded.
A verified Weibo account, 侠骨柔情方恨晚, which has nearly 158,000 followers, uploaded the manipulated image on the platform a day after the assault.
The Weibo post with the manipulated image is written in simplified Chinese. When translated in English, it reads:
“Cockroaches want to fight with South Asians. We will see if the cockroaches have the ability to do so. Have heard that normally these cockroaches are scared to death of South Asians.”
The post has been shared 11 times, received 36 likes and commented on 29 times.
Another version of the manipulated image was uploaded by Facebook user Shu Kwok Cheung an hour after the Weibo post.
This version, in addition to the false claim written in red, includes an orange rectangle surrounding the text “liberate Chungking Mansions.”
The Facebook post has been shared 17 times and received 107 emoji reactions and likes. It also attracted 42 comments.
Sham was sent to Kwong Wah Hospital’s Accident and Emergency department after the attack but has since been discharged.
Sham could not identify the assailants’ ethnicities, Civil Human Rights Front Deputy Convenor Eric Lai Yan-ho told the South China Morning Post.
Unverified claims connecting South Asians to the assault continued to circulate on popular social media platforms after the protest on Oct. 20.
This Facebook post claims that “anti-resistance forces” hired South Asians to attack Sham.
The page with the post is followed by 38,487 users. The post itself has garnered 303 emoji reactions.
This Twitter thread by a user with some 6,600 followers also claims that the assailants originated from South Asian and were paid to attack Sham.
Annie Lab is unable to verify claims suggesting that Sham’s attackers were of a certain ethnicity.