Two suspected triad members arrested after attack on newspaper executives

Suspected triads held after woman news group director and male colleague beaten with bar as Washington voices concern about incidents

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 20 March, 2014, 6:03pm
UPDATED : Friday, 21 March, 2014, 5:10am

Two suspected triad members have been arrested over an attack on the woman director and the male news controller of a planned new local newspaper.

A 30-year-old garage worker was picked up after a silver Toyota used in the attack was found abandoned in Wong Tai Sin yesterday, police said. The Hong Kong resident owns the car, which had not been reported stolen, a police source revealed.

One of his friends was arrested when he presented himself to police with his lawyer. It is understood he had borrowed the car for about a month.

Both men, believed to be Wo Shing Wo triad members, are being held for questioning but have not been charged.

It was the city's second attack on media figures in three weeks. Former Ming Pao chief editor Kevin Lau Chun-to was critically injured in a chopping incident in Sai Wan Ho on February 26.

Asked if the attacks are a challenge to law and order, Police Commissioner Andy Tsang Wai-hung said the police were "fully aware of the public concern about attacks on individuals connected to journalism".

"As with all violent crimes, we will deal with them seriously and are making sure that the investigation is as thorough as possible," Tsang said.

Police would not speculate on the possible motive behind the most recent attack, he added.

The Hong Kong Morning News Media Group's director, Lei Iun-han, 46, and news controller Lam Kin-ming, 54, were assaulted by three masked men with metal bars in Tsim Sha Tsui on Wednesday.

Lei suffered injuries to her face and knees, while Lam's right elbow was injured. Their assailants fled in the silver car driven by a fourth man.

Yesterday, about 50 officers searched a hillside after the car was found abandoned outside the Lion Rock Park in Wong Tai Sin. Metal pipes, gloves and masks were seized.

Another police source said the two victims had not received threats prior to the attack. "It appeared the assailants targeted the female victim," the source said.

Meanwhile, the United States Department of State spokesman Jen Psaki said Washington was concerned about a "series of incidents" in the past year in which media figures seem to have been targeted.

Psaki 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.