The vice-president along with the news controller of soon-to-be launched Hong Kong Morning News Media Group were attacked by four masked men wielding iron pipes in broad daylight yesterday, making it the second attack on Hong Kong media figures within a month.
Lei lun-han, 46, and Lam Kin-ming, 54, were approached by the assailants in Tsim Sha Tsui East around 1:00 p.m. Police say the men, dressed in caps, surgical masks and gloves, clubbed the two as they were walking along Science Museum Road.The pair were treated for injuries at Queen Elizabeth Hospital and have already been discharged.
The attack comes four weeks after the knife attack on former Ming Pao chief editor Kevin Lau Chun-to. On February 26, Lau was stabbed in the legs and back with a meat cleaver by suspects including alleged triad members, also in the middle of the day.
Despite initial statements made by police commissioner Andy Tsang Wai-hung that “there is nothing to tie the attack directly to Lau’s journalistic work,” Lau’s wife stated that her family had no personal grudges and that they “strongly believe the attack was linked to his journalistic work”.
The Hong Kong Journalists Associations likewise said that the police commissioner’s statement might mislead people to think that the attack was related to a personal issue against Lau, and the journalist himself 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 of being attacked.
The Deputy chairman of the Legislative Council panel James To Kun-sun this time around said that there is reason to believe the attack on Lei and Lam is connected to the newspaper, marking another attack on press freedom.
“Does it mean that some people do not want to see the newspaper join the market?” he asked. “It is unlikely [they were assaulted] because of their own personal matters.”
Following the attack on Lau in February, thousands of people gathered outside of Hong Kong government headquarters to protest the brutal stabbings and to continue voicing support for press freedom.
[Image via The Statndard]