Singaporean artist Lee Wen was discharged from hospital yesterday, a day after he was found unconscious in a City University bathroom with facial injuries following a forum there.
Police and media had initially said Lee could not recall if he had slipped and hurt himself or was beaten up. But he became convinced he had been attacked, according to his friend and fellow artist, Chan San-mu.
During the forum, Lee criticised the human rights situation on the mainland, but he did not speculate on a motive for the apparent attack, which resulted in minor injuries.
Lee was too tired to discuss with his friends who could have been behind the attack, said Chan, who met Lee after he was discharged from Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital. Lee was set to leave Hong Kong as scheduled today.
The 56-year-old, who has Parkinson's disease, was in the city for the Art Basel event.
"He was attacked before he had a chance to see what [the perpetrator] looked like," Chan said.
Liu Nanxi, another friend of Lee's and the project officer of the Centre for Community Cultural Development, wrote on her Facebook page on Saturday: "There was blood all over [his] face and he was left unconscious on the floor for half an hour."
Yesterday Liu wrote that Lee had told them "not to jump to any conclusions" when they asked him if the culprit could be an extremist from the mainland.
Online, many speculated that Lee had been attacked because during the forum he raised concerns about the arrest this month of soldier-turned-artist Chen Guang. Police in Beijing arrested Chen when he staged a work of performance art to commemorate the Tiananmen Square crackdown as its 25th anniversary approaches.
Richard Tsoi Yiu-cheong, vice-chairman of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China, said "it would be hard to draw any conclusion based on the incomprehensive reports". But he said the alliance would offer help if necessary.
City University declined to comment.