Torture of Hong Kong Democrat will not stop us fighting for release of dissident’s widow, activists say

Pro-democracy alliance plans event that will urge Beijing to come clean on her whereabouts

PUBLISHED : Friday, 11 August, 2017, 7:39pm
UPDATED : Friday, 11 August, 2017, 10:13pm

Initial police investigations into the alleged abduction and torture of a founding member of the Democratic Party showed no signs of suspicious activity just before he was taken away but activists said they saw the episode as a warning to stop pursuing their campaign for Liu Xiaobo’s wife.

They vowed to continue calling for the release of Liu Xia, the widow of dissident Liu Xiaobo.

Howard Lam Tsz-kin, a founding member of the Democratic Party, said yesterday he was abducted in Yau Ma Mei on Thursday and then tortured, with staples punched into his legs, three days after a mainland acquaintance warned him not to pass a signed postcard of Lionel Messi to Liu Xia. The Barcelona star was Liu Xiaobo’s favourite footballer.

“Those people used Liu Xia as the issue behind their assault and abduction of Lam. We don’t know whether there are other hidden agendas, but Hong Kong people will continue to call for Liu Xia’s freedom and will not be scared,” said Lee Cheuk-yan, secretary of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China.

Liu Xiaobo, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, died in police custody on July 13. Liu Xia has been under house arrest since 2010 but her location was unknown. Lee said the alliance would continue with a campaign in Mong Kok ­today calling for Beijing to come clean on her whereabouts.

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Former Democratic Party chairman Albert Ho Chun-yan said: “These violent people are clearly from a powerful mainland authority, but I don’t understand why they had to do it like this ... It’s unlikely we can give Liu Xia the autograph since we don’t even know her whereabouts.”

A police source said initial investigations of CCTV footage showed no suspicious persons around Lam before he was taken away but they were still investigating.

Demosisto, founded by student leaders of the 2014 Occupy protests, said Lam’s ordeal showed that under the joint checkpoint plan, “Hong Kong will be corrupted by fear, and the rule of law will be diminished”.

But former Legislative Council president Jasper Tsang Yok-sing said: “There is not enough evidence to point the blame at mainland agents or suggest that ‘one country, two systems’ is being tarnished.”