Yang Kuang still missing; fury crosses political divide

Hong Kong delegates in Beijing and even city's Immigration Department voice fear for activist

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 10 March, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 10 March, 2013, 5:52am

A Hong Kong activist who disappeared after trying to visit the wife of jailed Nobel peace laureate Liu Xiaobo in Beijing was still missing last night, a day after he was beaten and taken away in a police car.

The disappearance of Diaoyu Islands activist Yang Kuang, coupled with assaults on two Hong Kong journalists outside Liu Xia's home on Friday, have sparked outrage across the city's political divide and among Hong Kong delegates gathered in Beijing for the annual sessions of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and National People's Congress.

Tam Yiu-chung, a CPPCC delegate, said: "The government bureaus in Beijing should be more transparent and should explain what is happening."

As pan-democratic groups demanded Beijing authorities investigate, a spokesman for Hong Kong's Immigration Department said it had not received any calls for help. He said the department was "highly concerned" and would liaise with the government's office in Beijing.

Yang was last seen on Friday night, hours after he tried to visit Liu Xia, who is under extralegal house arrest. Her husband was jailed for 11 years in December 2009 for subversion.

In a video clip on YouTube, a man who resembles Yang is seen being attacked by a dozen men at about 10pm before being taken away in a police car.

Earlier, as Yang tried to see Liu, several unidentified men pushed him before turning to hit TVB cameraman Tam Wing-man and Now TV cameraman Wong Kim-fai, who were filming him.

Tam was punched in the face and pushed to the ground, and five or six men stamped on him. The men also grabbed Wong and tried to snatch his camera before hitting him on the head.

Under mainland law, the family of a person summoned by officials must be notified within 24 hours. Yang's mobile phone remained switched off last night.

Chan Yue-nam, vice-chairman of the Action Committee for Defending the Diaoyu Islands, said he believed Yang was being held by public security officers.

Chan said Yang "always acts on his own", and the group had not been aware he was in Beijing.

NPC deputy Ma Fung-kwok said some delegates expressed their concerns yesterday to Li Fei, deputy director of the NPC's Legislative Affairs Committee.

"Li did not respond on the matter," he said. "He emphasised that [China] must … legislate whenever necessary, enforce the law strictly, and punish whoever breaks the law. I hope that these principles would apply in this incident as well," Ma added, referring to the attackers.

Fellow NPC deputy Miriam Lau Kin-yee said she might raise concerns with Beijing officials. Former police commissioner Tang King-shing, a CPPCC delegate, called the attacks serious and totally unacceptable.

League of Social Democrats lawmaker "Long Hair" Leung Kwok-hung urged central leadership to condemn the violence. NeoDemocrats lawmaker Gary Fan Kwok-wai said he would write in protest to Communist Party chief Xi Jinping .

The Democratic Party's Albert Ho Chun-yan said the incident raised fears of "gangster politics".