Police made a breakthrough last night in their investigations into the horrific attack on former Ming Pao chief editor Kevin Lau Chun-to. They have located the taxi driver who picked up one of the two suspects involved in the attack and drove him to Kowloon Tong MTR station, according to a source.
The lead came several hours after Lau made an impassioned appeal from his hospital bed to the people of Hong Kong: "Stand up for press freedom."
Visitors to Lau described him as spirited and communicative.
They quoted Lau as saying that he "tended to believe" that articles published by Ming Pao while he was editor had led to his being attacked with a meat cleaver on Wednesday.
"His first sentence to me was, 'I hope Hongkongers will stand up for press freedom'," lawmaker Ronny Tong Ka-wah said. Lawmaker James Tien Pei-chun quoted Lau as saying that he wanted a cup of coffee.
Others relayed that Lau had said that he felt no pain in his back where he suffered a deep, 16cm wound but that his toes were numb. Lau’s condition was upgraded from critical to serious on Friday.
The attack was condemned in the Legislative Council yesterday as reporters from Ming Pao and other media organisations collected signatures in Causeway Bay to demand quick arrests.
A police source said that on top of the HK$3 million offered by Ming Pao, increased from an initial HK$1 million after donations poured in, police might put up their own cash reward.
An officer said the attack bore the hallmarks of the Wo Shing Wo triad society. The motorcycle initially used by the hitmen to escape was stolen in Fanling, a Wo Shing Wo stronghold.
Lau had just left his car on the Sai Wan Ho waterfront when a pillion passenger leapt off the motorcycle and slashed him from behind.
Additional reporting by Jeffie Lam, Jennifer Ngo and Lana Lam