A political weekly whose chief was assaulted this week says it suspects the attack was intended to stifle press freedom.
The magazine, iSun Affairs, issued a statement yesterday after publisher Chen Ping, a businessman who was a researcher in a government policy think tank until the Tiananmen crackdown in 1989, was beaten near its Chai Wan office on Monday.
"We strongly condemn such thuggish behaviour in the free society of Hong Kong with rule of law. We appeal for police to quickly track down the culprits in order to maintain a free, independent environment for the media," the statement reads.
The Civic Party made a similar appeal. Chen, 58, will today hold a press conference with the pan-democrats.
He was ambushed as he got into his car near the Sino Favour Centre in On Yip Street by two baton-wielding men aged 20 to 30 years. He sustained injuries to his head, arms and chest.
Police say the case is under investigation and no one has been arrested.
Chen was discharged from Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital yesterday.
On receiving a call from the South China Morning Post, he passed his phone to a colleague, who said Chen had ruled out possible reasons for the attack other than the sensitive political issues that it tackles. The magazine is banned on the mainland.
The female colleague, also named Chen, said they were not sure which report led to the attack, but said that a January interview with Lew Mon-hung "had the biggest impact".
Lew, a former key supporter of Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, accused Leung of lying about how he had dealt with illegal structures at his home.