HK activist kidnapped, warned against Liu Xia contact

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Howard Lam Tsz-kin (right) was beaten and marked by a stapler with 'crosses' on his legs during a kidnapping. Photo: Democratic Party

A member of the Hong Kong Democratic Party said he was kidnapped by two suspected mainland Chinese agents in Mong Kok, Kowloon, on Thursday and warned not to contact Liu Xia, widow of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo.

Howard Lam Tsz-kin, a pro-democracy activist, said in a media briefing on Friday that he had planned to send a signed photo of soccer player Lionel Messi as Liu Xiaobo, who died last month, was a soccer fan. 

Read: China’s Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo dies aged 61

On Thursday, after he visited a sports-accessory shop on Portland Street in Kowloon, he was abducted by up to five Mandarin-speaking men and taken to a car. He said he was rendered unconscious with some kind of chemical.

When he regained consciousness, he found himself in an unknown place in the countryside. He said the kidnappers asked him whether he knew Liu Xia and warned him to give up his plan to send the Messi picture.

Lam said he was beaten by the men, who used a stapler to give him “crosses” on his legs because he is a Christian. He said he was warned not to call the police about the attack as “it was a national matter”. He was accused by the attackers of “not loving Hong Kong and China”.

Lam was again rendered unconscious and moved to a beach in Sai Kung in the early hours of Friday.

At 11am, Lam and other Democratic Party members held a media briefing to disclose the incident. He showed journalists the staple marks on his legs. 

Democratic Party lawmaker Lam Cheuk-ting called the alleged incident “outrageous” as it was a serious crime to kidnap and torture people. He said the incident also violated the Basic Law and the “one country, two systems” principle if the attackers belonged to the mainland authorities.

Police Commissioner Stephen Lo said he had appointed detectives to investigate Howard Lam’s case because of the “seriousness of the allegations”. Lo said law-enforcement officers from other places are not allowed to do their jobs in Hong Kong.

However, Lo added that Howard Lam should have called the police first, instead of holding a press briefing, which could prompt the culprits to flee or destroy evidence.

Read: Anson Chan calls on business to stand up for HK way of life

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