Anti-triad detectives have been told to pump for information every underworld "snitch" they know to help find the motorcycle hitmen who carried out Wednesday's attack on former Ming Pao chief editor Kevin Lau Chun-to.
As the clock ticks on the investigation into the attack on the journalist, whose condition improved to serious from critical in hospital on Friday morning, officers from the organised crime and triad bureau are understood to have been approaching every informant on the police payroll amid a dearth of witnesses.
Despite releasing grainy CCTV images of the culprits and the motorcycle and taxi the duo were believed to have used prior to and after the attack, police have still not made an arrest. Lau and his family are under police protection.
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"Every informant on the payroll is being tapped for information. No stone is being left unturned. They know the hours immediately after an attack like this are crucial in terms of success," said a police source. It is understood neither Lau nor his family had received threats before the attack.
Lau, 49, was ambushed as he got out of his car near a restaurant in Sai Wan Ho when a pillion passenger got off a motorcycle and attacked him with a chopper. An initial bounty of HK$1 million put up by Ming Pao has tripled to more than HK$3 million with donations.
The attack left Lau's internal organs exposed and damaged crucial nerves in his legs. He also lost 3.4 litres of blood.
His condition, while critical, is stable. He communicated briefly with detectives in Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital yesterday but has not given a formal statement. Lau's damaged nerves were repaired but it was "too early to tell whether the connections would rejoin perfectly", a hospital source said.
The Legislative Council's chairman, Jasper Tsang Yok-sing, visited Lau in intensive care last night.
Lau's wife, Vivien Chan Pik-kwan, said: "His face is less pale and he is responsive to questions. He can write with his fingers to express himself."
Amid fears that the attack could be connected to Lau's work, Ming Pao editorial director Cheung Kin-bor said the company would give police news articles from last year that "may have offended people".
Additional reporting by Samuel Chan
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