17 February 2019
Democratic Party member Howard Lam shows his wounds during a media conference on Friday. His abductors alleged used a stapler to torture him. Photo: HKEJ
Democratic Party member Howard Lam shows his wounds during a media conference on Friday. His abductors alleged used a stapler to torture him. Photo: HKEJ

Security chief to pursue probe into abduction, torture claims

Secretary for Security John Lee Ka-chiu said police investigation will continue into claims by a pan-democratic activist that he was abducted and tortured by mainland agents last week, although no substantial evidence to support the story has been found yet.

Police investigators are reviewing CCTV footage gathered at the scene where the alleged abduction took place, looking for witnesses, conducting street interviews, and sending out questionnaires, Lee said at a press conference.

But the efforts so far have failed to find evidence corroborating the allegations made by Democratic Party member Howard Lam Tsz-kin, he said.

Lee said the Regional Crime Squad of Kowloon West will pursue its investigation, although it may take some time, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reported.

The case has been listed as “false imprisonment, wounding, and criminal intimidation”, and the investigation will focus on two directions – criminal acts committed against Lam and the identities and backgrounds of the alleged abductors, he said.

Lam has insisted that he doesn’t need personal protection, Lee said, but police will keep close contact with him.

Lee also hopes that Lam could provide more information to help investigators in resolving the case.

Lam’s alleged abduction came amid the debate over the government’s co-location proposal for the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link, which will lease part of the West Kowloon terminus to the mainland and allow mainland laws to apply there.

Asked if Hong Kong’s rule of law and its ability to protect its citizens have been challenged as a result of the case, Lee promised that only local officials can enforce the law in the city.

Lam told a press conference on Friday that he was seized in Yau Ma Tei a day earlier by several men he suspected to be mainland agents, before he was brought to an unknown location where he was tortured while blindfolded and gagged.

During his detention, Lam said his abductors kept asking him if he knew Liu Xia, widow of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo, who died of liver cancer while in state custody last month.

He suspected that it might have something to do with the fact that he had been trying to send an autographed postcard by FC Barcelona forward Lionel Messi to her as her late husband was an avid fan of the Argentine soccer star.

Lam said he woke up lying alone on a beach in Sai Kung at around 1 a.m. Friday.

While Lam described vividly what had happened to him, some observers doubt the veracity of his statements.

For example, they are wondering why he failed to report to the police right after he found himself free and why he washed his clothes, damaging potential evidence as a result.

Responding to such questions, Lam said on his Facebook page on Sunday that he has no intention of gaining fame out of his experience, adding that he refused to give an oral statement to the police because he was not feeling well.

He also said he will not participate in any high-profile political activity in the future so as to spare his family from living in fear.

Lam said he is set to leave for the United States by the end of the month to pursue his studies.

Secretary for Labour and Welfare Dr. Law Chi-kwong, who has resigned from the Democratic Party to assume his government post, said it is understandable that Hong Kong people want to know the whole truth about Lam’s allegations, and police should get to the bottom of the case.

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