Ching Cheong to meet the press this month

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 09 February, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 09 February, 2008, 12:00am

Freed journalist Ching Cheong plans to meet the press this month, his elder brother said yesterday, adding he would be unlikely to appear in public beforehand.

The chief China correspondent for The Straits Times, of Singapore, would also meet his employer soon.

Ching Hei said even though his brother was not expected to return to work in the short term, he had told colleagues that he did not fear working on the mainland again.

The Hong Kong journalist, who has been suffering from irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure and stomach ailments, is to spend the next two weeks resting and then have a thorough medical check-up.

Ching was paroled from a prison in Guangzhou on Tuesday, after serving 2? years of a five-year term, just in time for the Lunar New Year.

Ching Hei told the South China Morning Post yesterday: 'He's preparing himself to meet the press. He has no plans to meet anyone or appear in public for the time being.'

Ching had no plans to leave Hong Kong, his brother said.

Since his arrival at the Hung Hom railway station, Ching has not appeared in public.

However, he has kept in touch with a few close friends by phone. Among these are Johnny Lau Yui-siu, a veteran China-watcher, and Mak Chai-ming, spokesman for the Ching Cheong Incident Concern Group.

Mr Mak said the group might try to meet Ching later this month. Ching Shui-yee, the journalist's younger sister, had said that he only learned of his father's death on the day he returned home.

Ching was detained in April 2005 but was officially arrested on espionage charges that August. He was jailed in Beijing and transferred to a Guangzhou prison last year.