Washington ‘troubled’ by assaults on Hong Kong media figures
Latest incident involving two newspaper executives seen as another attack on freedom of press
Washington says it is “troubled” by the series of attacks on media figures in Hong Kong recently and urges Hong Kong police to fully investigate.
US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the US was concerned over reports about another attack on members of the media in Hong Kong, after two senior executives of a new Hong Kong newspaper were assaulted on Wednesday by masked men in broad daylight in Tsim Sha Tsui.
It was the second attack on media figures in a month. Former Ming Pao chief editor Kevin Lau Chun-to was critically injured in a chopping attack in San Wan Ho on February 26.
Two men are due to appear in court today on wounding and theft charges. Nine others who were arrested earlier in connection with the case were released on bail.
In Washington, Psaki said: “While the details of the most recent attack are not completely clear, we are troubled by a series of incidents over the past year that seem to target Hong Kong media figures.”
She said freedom of the press was crucial to Hong Kong’s success and reputation as a leading centre of global commerce.
“We expect Hong Kong’s law enforcement authorities will fully and transparently investigate these incidents,” said Psaki.
On Wednesday, Hong Kong Morning News Media Group director and vice-president Lei Iun-han, 46, and news controller Lam Kin-ming, 54, were attacked by four men while walking along Science Museum Road.
Lei’s nose and knees were injured, as was Lam’s right elbow. The assailants — wearing caps, surgical masks and gloves — fled in a car.
Earlier today police were investigating an abandoned car found on a roadside of Wong Tai Sin as the suspected get-away vehicle used by the attackers. The grey sedan, with an expired licence plate, was found abandoned on Lung Cheung Road near the Lion Rock Park. Witnesses said the car had been there overnight.
The new media group is planning to launch a new publication around the summer.
Legislator James To Kun-sun described it as another attack on press freedom, while the security minister Lai Tung-kwok also condemned the attack, and ordered the police to conduct a thorough investigation.