Nine suspects in Hong Kong, including two alleged motorcycle hit men, have been arrested in connection to the brutal February 26 knife attack on former Ming Pao news editor Kevin Lau Chun-to, South China Morning Post reports:
The two suspected hit men, members of local triad gang Shui Fong, also known as Wo On Lok, were each paid HK$1 million to carry out the attack, a source close to Guangdong’s Public Security Bureau said.
The source added that the pair were told not to kill Lau and to go into hiding on the mainland for a year after the attack.
“They admitted they were each paid HK$1 million by their gang leader before the attack … The money should have been enough for them to live on the mainland for a year.”
The suspects, both 37, were detained by police in Dongguan, Guangdong province.
Hong Kong police have since detained seven other men during raids in various parts of the city yesterday.
Police commissioner Andy Tsang Wai-hung said that the suspects are believed to have triad backgrounds and that no motive has been ruled out.
“According to the information at hand, there is nothing to tie the attack directly to Lau’s journalistic work,” he said.
Lau’s wife, however, disagrees: “My family doesn’t have money problems, affairs or personal grudges,” she said. “We strongly believe the attack was linked to his journalistic work.”
The Hong Kong Journalists Association likewise expressed surprise at Commissioner Tsan’g statement, saying that the remarks might lead people to believe the attack was related to personal issues against Lau.
Lau on Tuesday released a video from his hospital bed urging the government to restore journalists’ faith in the rule of law so that they could work without fear.
“We urge the government to solve the case as soon as possible, so journalists will have confidence in the rule of law again and do not have to be afraid of the threat of violence anymore,” Lau said.
Thousands of people gathered outside of Hong Kong government headquarters on March 2 to protest the brutal attack on Lau, continuing to voice support for press freedom.
The attack followed Lau’s investigative reports into assets of Chinese and Hong Kong residents, including many of China’s government officials.