A prominent pro-democracy legislator and activist in Hong Kong says that he was abducted, blindfolded, beaten and tortured by Chinese agents in just the latest story to raise fears about Beijing’s growing influence inside the former British colony.
At a press conference on Friday, Democratic Party member Howard Lam Tsz-kin said that he was abducted by a pair of men in Mong Kok on Thursday who went on to beat him and punch staples into his legs before dumping him on a beach in the dead of night.
Lam said that he believes that the men were mainland agents because they spoke to him in Mandarin. He also said that he thinks he knows why they abducted and tortured him.
Last month, Lam received a postcard from football superstar Lionel Messi and intended to pass that postcard along to Liu Xia, the widow of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo, who hasn’t been seen since her husband’s death from liver cancer last month.
However, Lam explained that earlier this week, he received a phone call from a mainland Chinese friend with connections to Chinese national security agencies who warned him not to give the Messi postcard to Liu, telling him that he would pay if he ignored this warning.
Lam said that after he bought a football jersey at a Mong Kok sports shop on Thursday, he was attacked by two strangers who shoved him into a van and made him smell an unknown substance. When he woke back up, he said that he was dressed only in his underwear, with a blindfold over his eyes and his limbs tied down, inside a room with four or five other people.
“A man asked if I knew Liu Xia, and why I was doing all these things,” the South China Morning Post quotes Lam as saying. “He said I didn’t know how to love the country.”
“The man also said: ‘Are you a Christian? Do you know how to love the country and the religion? I’ll give you some crosses,’ and then he stapled my legs.”
After that, Lam said that he was knocked out again, only to wake up on a beach at 1 a.m. on Friday morning. Rather than report the incident to police, Lam went home, explaining that he was too exhausted. Later, he was convinced by fellow Democratic Party legislators to come forward and tell his story.
At the press conference, Lam showed journalists his injuries, including more than 20 marks left by the staples on his leg. He said that he would be going to the hospital and then to the police station to report the incident, though he added that he did not expect the Hong Kong police or local authorities to be helpful in the matter.
Last summer, Hong Kong bookseller Lam Wing-kee caused a sensation after breaking his silence and speaking out about how he and his colleagues were allegedly abducted by Chinese police and held prisoner on the mainland for months. While, earlier this year, a Chinese billionaire was reportedly abducted from his Hong Kong hotel and taken across the border by Chinese agents. Under Hong Kong’s Basic Law, Chinese authorities are not allowed to carry out operations in the special administrative region.
[Images via hk01.com]
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