Two men were found guilty of slashing former Ming Pao news editor Kevin Lau with a meat cleaver in a Hong Kong court this week. Yip Kim-wah and Wong Chi-wah, both aged 39, were convicted on a joint count of causing grievous body harm to Lau and were also found guilty of stealing a motorcycle to carry out the attack.
Lau sustained severe injuries after he was stabbed in the legs and back by assailants in broad daylight on February 26 last year. Police said Yip and Wong had been following Lau before the attack and fled to the mainland afterwards. They were arrested on March 8, 2014.
Yip told police that an unidentified person had offered to pay them 100,000 HKD each to carry out the attack, but later alleged that they had only confessed to the crime under police torture.
While the motive behind the crime is still unclear, Lau said last year that he suspected it was linked to his investigative journalistic work, and in turn, was an attack on freedom of speech.
“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 in a video filmed from his hospital bed last year.
He echoed similar sentiment after this week’s verdict, telling reporters: “I said last year and I am of the same view today that I see nothing in my personal life that may possibly trigger such a violent attack on me”.
Lau has called on police to continue investigating and to find the person who ordered the violent attack.
“Only then will the shadow cast on journalists by this violent attack be lifted. And the public will regain their confidence in press freedom,” he said.