Ex-Ming Pao editor Kevin Lau reveals long road to recovery ahead

Damage sustained in brutal cleaver attack will take two years to repair; journalist will use a wheelchair and undergo extensive physiotherapy but will walk again

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 11 March, 2014, 2:26pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 12 March, 2014, 4:28am

The former Ming Pao chief editor has revealed that the nerves in his legs, which were damaged in a brutal chopping attack late last month, will take about two years to mend.

Doctors have told Kevin Lau Chun-to that he will have to use a wheelchair for some time, but will walk again after physiotherapy and training.

In his second article written from his hospital bed since the attack on February 27, Lau said the nerves that control his walking will regrow 1mm each day. They will have to grow 700mm in total, meaning the recovery process will take about two years.

"Doctors have already reconnected the nerves, but nerves are different from electric wires," he wrote in an article published yesterday on Ming Pao's website.

"Broken wires can work once rejoined, but nerves have to regrow. They have to grow slowly from the broken point on the thighs to the toes … The whole recovery process will be very long. It cannot be hurried."

The wounds on Lau's back will heal much faster, however, as no internal organs were harmed, he said. But his legs sustained more serious damage as his sciatic nerves were severed.

Lau will stay in a rehabilitation hospital to undergo physiotherapy and receive training on how to manage his day-to-day life.

Debate surrounds the possible motives for the attack, in which a pillion passenger leapt from a motorcycle and slashed Lau repeatedly from behind with a meat cleaver. Police are still searching for two suspects.

The assault, which followed Lau's controversial removal as Ming Pao chief editor, caused international concern and sparked a march in support of press freedom that saw thousands take to the streets.

Watch: thousands protest against attack on Kevin Lau, calling for press freedom

Meanwhile, today's Hong Kong ArtWalk will include local artist Sushan Chan's poster depicting the attack on Lau. In the poster, seedlings sprouting from his wounds represent the growing awareness of press freedom that stemmed from the attack.

Around 400 copies of the poster will be displayed along the ArtWalk area in Central, Sheung Wan and Aberdeen.

Also today, some of Lau's former classmates from the University of Hong Kong law faculty will form a concern group to monitor police progress in investigating the case and to raise public awareness on press freedom in the city.