Every evening, for more than a week now, people in different parts of Hong Kong have wondered if their building or district will be the government's next target for an ambush lockdown to test residents for the coronavirus. The tests are compulsory for all those in the district ambushed by the government. Residents who refuse to open their door or be tested are fined $5,000. Residents are not told ahead of the ambush. That's why the government used the word "ambush" to describe the lockdowns. The ambush usually starts around 7pm and those in the lockdown areas cannot leave until everyone is tested, which usually takes all night.
Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor should not have used the word "ambush". The word means to suddenly attack people after hiding and waiting for them. Robbers sometimes suddenly attack a person coming out of a bank with a lot of money after hiding and waiting. You can then say robbers ambushed (verb) the person. Soldiers can hide and wait for enemy soldiers and then suddenly attack them. You can say it was an ambush (noun). Police with advanced information can ambush (verb) terrorists who plan to set off bombs. The word is used to describe soldiers attacking enemy soldiers, robbers attacking innocent people, or terrorists attacking innocent victims.
That's why the chief executive misused the word when describing sudden, unannounced lockdowns as an ambush. Residents living in areas for sudden, unannounced lockdowns are innocent Hong Kong people. Why does the government want to ambush them? The noun "ambusher" means an attacker. Does the government want the police and coronavirus testers who lock down districts described as attackers? Government officials have also insisted the ambush lockdowns are not real lockdowns because they only last for one night for testing. They misunderstand the word "lockdown". A lockdown is when no one can enter or leave an area. A lockdown is not measured by time. More than a week of ambush lockdowns have found very few people with the coronavirus.
因此，特首將那些突然而無預警的封區（lockdowns）形容為一個ambush，是誤用了這個字。在那些突然而無預警地封鎖（lockdowns）的區域內居住的市民，都是無辜的香港人。為何政府想去「突襲」（ambush）他們？名詞“ambusher”是指施襲者。難道政府是想將那些封鎖（lock down）區域的警方和新冠病毒檢測人員形容為施襲者？政府官員亦堅稱，那些突襲封區（ambush lockdowns）並非真正的封鎖（lockdowns），因為他們只是為了檢測而維持了一個晚上。他們誤解“lockdown”一字了。A lockdown 就是所有人和車輛都不能出入某區；封鎖並不是用時間衡量的。超過一星期的突襲封區（ambush lockdowns），只找到極少數感染新冠肺炎的人。中譯：七刻
Michael Chugani 褚簡寧