A Hong Kong man is suing a government department in Xiamen, Fujian province for libel after it called his father a 'traitor to the Chinese people' and a 'running dog' in an official document. Lam Yan-on, a 66-year-old Hong Kong resident, filed the suit in Shenzhen's Futian district court yesterday. He accused Xiamen's municipal administration of housing, land and resources of using the terms 'flagrancy', 'committing all manners of crimes', 'chief criminal', and 'doing whatever running dogs do' in an official letter that described and labelled his father as a traitor during the Sino-Japanese war (1937-1945). The letter was written by the bureau to reject a claim by Lam and his brothers that the department return properties that their father, Lin Gun , bought between 1915 and 1949. According to the letter, the government would not return the properties to the family since Lin Gun had been identified as a traitor who was involved in criminal activity with the support of the Japanese government. Lam said his family was shocked and angry by the strong language in the letter, which the department sent to him in December last year. Lam said his father was born in Taiwan in 1894 and one year later all Taiwanese people became colonial subjects of Japan. 'My father was in Xiamen between the 1910s and 1940s with a Japanese identity. It was a historical problem, and authorities could not say my father was a traitor,' Lam said. A lawyer for the department told the court yesterday that the terms including 'flagrancy' and 'chief criminal' were all from historical materials and government archives. The lawyer said Xiamen's government had recorded Lin Gun as a Chinese traitor in 1951, according to an official document coded 948. Liu Zilong, the lawyer acting for Lam, doubted the authenticity of the document. 'The document could only be a reference and not evidence in court. Besides, there was no formal judgment to prove Lin Gun's properties had been confiscated because of his identification as a 'traitor',' he said. The judge did not reach a verdict.