Hong Kong democrat Howard Lam rebuts his kidnapping claim doubters
Democratic Party member also vows not to ‘actively engage in any political activities any more’
The Hong Kong democrat who claimed mainland agents kidnapped and tortured him in the city rejected allegations that his story was a scripted charade, as he pledged to quit the local political arena for good.
The remarks by Howard Lam Tsz-kin came after pro-establishment legislators challenged the authenticity of his account made on Friday, which renewed fears the “one country, two systems” principle has been eroded.
Lam said he was abducted by mainland agents in Yau Ma Tei on Thursday, pushed into a van, taken to a building, and tortured with staples punched into his thighs. He said he woke up on a Sai Kung beach on Friday morning.
But some questioned why Lam did not immediately report the case to police and even cleaned his clothes when he got home – a move described by founding Democratic Party chairman Martin Lee Chu-ming as “a bit silly” as doing so could have jeopardised evidence needed for an investigation.
“There was sand and mud [in the clothes] and they were stinky,” Lam said on Sunday during a Facebook Live session. “My wife asked me to soak the clothes ... and so I did. I didn’t think too much about it.”
He added that his mother was horrified by the incident and did not want him to report the case to the police or make it public.
But Lee and former Democratic Party chairman Albert Ho Chun-yan eventually prevailed upon Lam’s mother, arguing that a press conference would afford Lam better protection.
Lam on Sunday clarified he never altered the written statement he gave police regarding the exact spot where he was kidnapped, as suggested by some reports, and voiced disappointment the force leaked some details of the statement.
He earlier said he believed the abduction was linked to his intention to send a signed postcard from Barcelona soccer star Lionel Messi to Liu Xia, widow of the late mainland dissident, Liu Xiaobo.
But Lam vowed on Facebook Live to end his political activism in Hong Kong as he denied allegations he was trying to exploit the incident to build political capital.
“I am under immense pressure. I am very exhausted,” he said. “I do not want to be a hero, and I do not want to climb up the political ladder.”
“I will not actively engage in any political activities any more. I am just a coward who hopes to keep my family members safe. Goodbye and thank you.”