Chief Executive John Lee said on Saturday he's saddened by the brutal knife attack that killed two women at a Diamond Hill shopping mall, as members of the public laid flowers to mourn the victims.
Two women in their 20s died from massive bleeding after being attacked by a knife-wielding man at Plaza Hollywood on Friday. Officers subdued and arrested the 39-year-old suspect, who they said has a history of mental illness, at the mall.
A day after the incident, a number of residents at Plaza Hollywood commemorated the two victims and said they were shocked by what had happened.
One of them told RTHK that she is worried for her personal safety, while another woman said she would not be put off visiting the mall following the knife attack.
"Danger could be everywhere, I would be more alert," she said.
A chef working at a restaurant in the mall recalled his attempt to stop the suspect after he heard about the stabbing.
The man, Fai, said he had taken two chairs from the restaurant and rushed to the scene.
"I was so scared when I saw the 12-inch knife he was holding. I felt threatened so I hit his head with the chair. He looked stunned. I felt like he had moved a bit closer and I was in danger, so I hit him again. He then walked away," he said.
"He suddenly started sobbing, I didn't know why...maybe he realised he did something wrong," he added. "At the time, all I only wanted was to stop him."
In a statement, the chief executive extended his deep condolences to the families of the two women, adding that authorities have reached out to them as well as that of the suspect to offer help.
He said police will spare no effort in investigating the incident.
"This is an individual case. The police and various law enforcement agencies will continue to strive for maintaining the law and order in Hong Kong," Lee wrote.
Lee noted that people might feel unease and worried, especially as videos of the incident had been widely circulated online.
"I urge everyone in the community to stop sharing the videos, and to extend care to family members and friends. Members of the public are advised to seek professional support if they experience any emotional distress," Lee wrote.
People can call the Social Welfare Department's 24-hour hotline 2343-2255 for immediate telephone counselling, support and referral services, or the hotline of the Hong Kong Red Cross on 5164-5040 for assistance. They may also call the Hospital Authority on 2466-7350.
The department also said it's setting up a mobile service counter near the scene of the incident to provide support for those suffering from emotional distress. The counter runs from 11.45am to 6pm, with clinical psychologists on-site for emotional counselling.
Speaking after a radio programme, Third Side lawmaker Tik Chi-yuen urged the government to ramp up its mental wellness services.
"Whether it's daytime, residential care or counselling services, we have always felt that there are shortcomings. Many cases have not been followed up thoroughly. And I think it is time to reflect on whether such services can be improved further," Tik said.
"We don't want the government to act only after these gory incidents happen."
Separately, Plaza Hollywood vowed to provide psychological support service to its staff and tenants. All promotional activities at the mall will be suspended for a week.
Last updated: 2023-06-03 HKT 15:26