Sunday, March 06, 2016

Riot? What about Lam Bun (林彬)?

Many pro-establishment figures condemned what happened on the evening of Chinese New Year in Mongkok as a riot, and the people involved as rioters.  All these even before anyone appeared in front of the courts. 

If that was a riot, what about 1967?  What about burning Lam Bun and his cousin to death?  For those who are too young, Lam Bun was a popular radio commentator.  In those days, the British still ruled Hong Kong, and the Communists were not in power in Hong Kong, yet.  The Cultural Revolution started in 1966 in Mainland China.  Corpses started flowing down the Pearl River, and washing up on our beaches in Hong Kong.  In this atmosphere, the Communists in Hong Kong started strikes, protests, …, throwing real and fake bombs, and many were hurt.  

Lam Bun criticised such acts fiercely.  He created a popular program on Commercial Radio called  "Can't Stop Striking" (欲罷不能), satirising the Communist agitators,  who were called Leftists at the time.  On 24 August 1967, men posing as road workers stopped his car, locked the car doors, poured gasoline on Lam Bun and his cousin, and burned them alive.  Both died.  

The Communist newspaper, Ta Kung Pao (大公報), condemned Lam Bun but not the murderers.  On of the articles was titled "地下突擊隊鋤奸, 敗類林彬受重傷".  Another article commented  “突擊隊懲戒林彬".  The murderers were never caught.  But it was obvious where the Communists stood on this murder.  Many believed that the Communists ordered and carried out the murder. 

During the 1967 riots, 52 people died, and 800 were injured.  I was 11 years old at the time.  One afternoon, while playing with my friends, I picked up a small package, about 6 inches long and wrapped in newspapers, from a flower bed on the grounds of our apartment building, and threw it away.  We lived in a compound which housed government employees.  During the riot, the Leftists often wrapped the bombs in newspapers and placed them near government buildings.  The one I picked up turned out not to be a bomb.  But it scared my parents to death, and my father gave me a severe beating, for being so foolish.  That was the last beating I remember.  Hundreds of people were not so fortunate.  

Burning Lam Bun alive was an despicable act.  What happened in 1967 was a real riot.  And there was no doubt that the Communists did it.  What about it then?

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