JPMorgan to boost security after employee punched by Hong Kong protester as tensions run high

South China Morning Post

A JPMorgan Chase employee was punched outside the company’s main Hong Kong offices amid increasingly violent political protests in the city, leading the firm to tell workers that it was increasing security and that they should avoid the building over the weekend.

The employee, who was not identified in a JPMorgan memo about the incident, was surrounded on Friday afternoon by photographers as well as protesters shouting “Go back to the mainland!” The banker spoke in Mandarin, at one point responding, “We are all Chinese.” As he made his way into the building lobby, one protester hit him in the face, knocking his eyeglasses off, according to a video circulated on social media. It is not clear from the video what sparked the altercation, and there is no indication it was connected to his employer.

“Some of you will be aware of an incident today that occurred outside of our Chater House office involving an employee,” JPMorgan said in the memo to workers, seen by Bloomberg. “We want to reiterate that we have put in place additional security for all of our buildings and continue to closely monitor the situation in Hong Kong.”

The employee is a private banker, said a person familiar with the incident, asking not to be identified. A JPMorgan representative declined to comment on the altercation.

Hong Kong on Friday invoked emergency powers for the first time in more than half a century, banning face masks for protesters after months of unrest. The move prompted demonstrators to once again occupy downtown streets. Chief Executive Carrie Lam said the action was necessary to stem increased violence in recent weeks, including attacks by protesters using petrol bombs, corrosive liquids and other weapons.

The episode at the JPMorgan offices underscored the challenges faced by international companies as they try to navigate the increasingly fraught environment in Hong Kong. The protests have put the city on edge, with tensions running high between backers of the demonstrations and those who show sympathy with the Hong Kong government and Beijing.

The prohibition on face masks will deter violence and help police enforce the law, Lam said, adding that the measure did not mean Hong Kong was under a state of emergency. As she spoke, protesters began gathering in the city’s Central business district and occupying major boulevards. Shops closed early in anticipation that demonstrations would grow violent.

“Non-essential employees who are planning to work over the weekend should not come into the office and instead are encouraged to work from home for any necessary weekend work,” JPMorgan’s security staff for the Asia-Pacific region said in the memo.

One thought on “JPMorgan to boost security after employee punched by Hong Kong protester as tensions run high

  1. Was it the large protuberant hook nose maximizing free oxygen intake that gave the jp morgan employee away?

    Yes, even the Chinese are getting wakey wakey…

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