Media misusing riot comments: lawmaker

PUBLISHED : Friday, 14 May, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 14 May, 2010, 12:00am

DAB lawmaker Wong Ting-kwong accused the media of stirring up controversy over his comments on radio host Lam Bun's death in 1967 and refused to retract his remarks.

Party colleague Chan Kam-lam, who said the leftists should not be blamed for Lam's death, also urged people to view history 'objectively and comprehensively'.

In a Commercial Radio interview on Tuesday, Wong said the leftist camp should not be held responsible for Lam's death. Chan later echoed the remarks.

Lam, a presenter with Commercial Radio, was burned to death 43 years ago after making comments on his programme critical of leftist rioters. His death is widely believed to be linked with leftists, while 15 other people were killed by bomb attacks by radical leftists during the riots.

Wong, a legislator with the pro-Beijing Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, stuck to his stance yesterday but said his comments had been misunderstood because the phrase 'leftist camp' had different definitions.

'Was it Yeung Kwong who killed Lam Bun? Did such a thing happen? I don't think one can say the FTU killed Lam Bun,' he said. 'If you want to pursue an investigation, I hope police will find the culprit.'

Yeung was then chairman of the Federation of Trade Unions and director of the All Circles Anti-Persecution Struggle Committee.

Wong blamed the media for sensationalising his comments ahead of Sunday's election. 'It's just two newspapers stirring things up for the May 16 by-election,' he said.

Two Chinese-language dailies, Apple Daily and Mingpao, made Wong and Chan's remarks on Lam's death their front page stories.

Chan called on people to view history objectively, stressing that the 1967 riots had a historical background. 'I think we should all reflect ... In a free society, it is always wrong to use violence against people with different opinions.'

The riots started in May 1967 when leftists in the city, inspired by the Cultural Revolution, protested against British colonial rule. Protesters fought with police, and bombs were planted around the city. Some 51 people died in the six months of violence.

Asked if leftists should be held responsible for Lam's death, Chan said: 'I don't belong to any camp. I am only viewing the incident like an ordinary citizen does.'

DAB vice-chairman Lau Kong-wah said the party did not have a stance on the riots. 'The incident is in the past. There is no need to discuss it.'

Democrat Cheung Man-kwong urged the camp loyal to Beijing to face history. 'Some people were cruelly killed and the memory still remains painful for many, including those who lost family members in the riots.'

Chau Yick, who covered the riots as a reporter in 1967 and is the author of a book on the history of leftists in Hong Kong, urged the government to investigate the riots and hold killers responsible. 'If Lam Bun's death should be pursued, the death of all others should be pursued too.'

The debate over Lam's death was renewed this month when Commercial Radio host Poon Siu-to compared the station's management with Lam. He was commenting on the broadcaster's acceptance of sponsorship from the DAB. This triggered concern over the broadcaster's political neutrality.

The Legislative Council's panel on information technology and broadcasting decided to hold a special meeting to review laws and regulations restricting political ads in the electronic media.