Two key figures behind a new Hong Kong newspaper were attacked by four masked men wielding iron pipes yesterday, the second attack on media executives in a month.
Lei Iun-han, 46, director and vice-president of Hong Kong Morning News Media Group, and news controller Lam Kin-ming, 54, were set upon in Tsim Sha Tsui East just after 1pm.
Police said the men, wearing caps, surgical masks and gloves attacked the pair as they walked along Science Museum Road before fleeing in a car.
Lei's nose and knees were injured, as was Lam's right elbow. They were treated at Queen Elizabeth Hospital and discharged.
The attack - four weeks after former Ming Pao chief editor Kevin Lau Chun-to was critically injured in a chopping attack in Sai Wan Ho - brought condemnation from Secretary for Security Lai Tung-kwok.
"Hong Kong is a lawful society. We will not tolerate any savage act. We must condemn such violence," he said.
Deputy chairman of the Legislative Council security panel James To Kun-sun said there was reason to believe the pair were attacked because of their editorial work - and if so it would be another attack on press freedom.
"Does it mean that some people do not want to see the newspaper join the market?" he asked. "It is unlikely [they were assaulted] because of their own personal matters."
The attack also prompted condemnation from the Hong Kong Morning News Media Group and Hong Kong Journalists Association.
Lei is the sole director of the company, which was formed on November 26, according to the company registry. It is not clear when the paper will be launched or if it will be free.
Police appealed for anyone with information to call 9193 3324.