The alleged abduction saga involving Democratic Party member Howard Lam Tsz-kin took an unexpected and nasty twist when he was arrested by law enforcers early on Tuesday for deliberately misleading the police by providing false information.
It is said that Lam’s arrest immediately sparked a fierce debate within the Democratic Party over how it should respond to the totally sudden and unexpected turn of events.
Worse still, seasoned Democrats such as Martin Lee and Albert Ho who were at Lam’s side during the press conference over his alleged abduction last Thursday were caught completely off guard and dumbfounded by his arrest, and were at a loss about what to do.
Lam’s arrest and the ensuing disarray within the Democratic Party prompted incumbent chairman Wu Chi-wai to call an urgent meeting of the party’s central committee on Tuesday, during which it is said that members were split over what position to take on Lam.
However, after hours of intense debate, committee members finally reached a consensus that given the lack of conclusive evidence at this point, it would be sensible for them not to take any position on Lam’s case or dissociate themselves from him for the time being until the police has completed its investigation and announced the results.
According to sources, one important reason why the Democrats have decided not to take any stance on Lam at this point is the uncertainty as to how the saga would play out in the coming days, since the police might still possess other vital evidence either in favor of or against Lam which hasn’t been made public yet.
Given that, they would rather wait until Lam is released on bail and talk to him to find out what really happened, and then decide what to do next.
Based on the information that has been released by the authorities so far, some Democrats doubt whether the police would have substantial evidence to press charges against Lam, not to mention that they are not 100 percent sure whether Lam was lying or not, or if he was, why he did so.
As such, it would be premature for the party to take a definitive stance on Lam right now.
On the other hand, it is also said that some Democrats who have known Lam for a long time have dismissed outright any possibility of him being a “fifth columnist” who was on a secret mission to sabotage the party and ruin its public image, given his character, background and, in particular, his utmost respect for the “founding fathers” of the party such as the late Szeto Wah, Martin Lee and Albert Ho over the years.
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Aug. 16
Translation by Alan Lee
[Chinese version 中文版]
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