A Hong Kong pro-democracy activist who claimed to have been abducted, blindfolded, beaten and tortured by Chinese agents has been arrested by police, charged with making “false” kidnapping claims.
Democratic Party member Howard Lam Tsz-kin said that he was walking on a sidewalk in Mong Kok on Thursday afternoon when a van pulled up beside him and two strangers forced him inside before rendering him unconscious.
However, using nine pieces of surveillance footage, Hong Kong’s FactWire news agency has reconstructed Lam’s walk through the Yau Ma Tai area, finding that “No suspicious persons mentioned by Lam were seen during the three-minute walk.”
Instead, Lam was seen putting on a cap, surgical mask and sunglasses before walking away “alone and unscathed,” Factwire said.
At a press briefing early on Tuesday morning, Hong Kong police said that they had arrested Lam, believing that he had given officers false information.
“Our information did not show that he was pushed into a car as he claimed… and his whereabouts were not like what he has said. We believe his information was false,” police said, according to the South China Morning Post.
At a press conference on Friday, Lam claimed that when he woke up after being abducted, he was dressed only in his underwear, with a blindfold over his eyes and his limbs tied down, inside of a room with four or five people who began to torture him by punching staples into his legs.
Lam said that he believed the men were Chinese agents because they spoke to him in Mandarin. He claimed that the reason he was targeted was that he had a postcard from Lionel Messi that he was planning to deliver to Liu Xia, the widow of Nobel peace laureate Liu Xiaobo.
After being tortured for hours, Lam said that he passed 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. He said that he did not expect the Hong Kong police or local authorities to be helpful in the matter.
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