Police escort Howard Lam after his arrest early on Tuesday morning. Photo: Handout
Public Eye
by Michael Chugani
Public Eye
by Michael Chugani

Hong Kong pan-democrats dig themselves into deep hole over Howard Lam kidnap claim

Democratic Party member’s story of abduction and torture smelt fishy – and Beijing loyalists must now be smirking

There I was, minding my own business in Mong Kok, a district teeming with mainland tourists, sex workers and shady bars when Putonghua-speaking goons shoved me into a vehicle in broad daylight and took me to goodness knows where.

When I came to, I had been stripped down to my underpants. My abductors taunted me about not loving the motherland, then punched staples into my thighs. Does that pass as torture? The terrorists holed up at Guantanamo will know.

Hours later, I found myself fully clothed lying on a beach in pitch darkness. Was I even in Hong Kong? My muddied backpack containing my switched-off mobile was next to me. I didn’t think of switching it on to check where I was or to call for help. Instead, I felt hunger pangs. That can be more painful than 21 staples punched into thighs.

Even though it was dark I somehow knew I was in Sai Kung. I stumbled upon a road where a passing taxi took me back to civilisation. I downed two buns. Forget the staples, food comes first. Then I went home. My mother moaned about my clothes and backpack stinking of seawater. Instead of preserving them as evidence I soaked them. Then I had a nice shower, staples still in thighs.

Howard Lam shows off his ‘wounds’ at a press conference hosted by the Democratic Party. Photo: Felix Wong

Refreshed, I called my mates who persuaded my family that I should call a press conference to show off my bruised thighs before calling the cops.

When I heard Democratic Party member Howard Lam Tsz-kin tell his tale on Chinese-language radio stations accompanied by party colleagues, I sensed his story smelt fishier than his clothes.
Evidence collected so far has led police to conclude Lam’s story is full of holes. But the biggest hole is the one the opposition has dug for itself. In its haste to embrace Lam’s story as definitive proof Beijing thinks nothing of trampling on us, the opposition has also exposed its obsession to smear the Communist Party whenever it can.

If it turns out Lam told a tall tale, I can’t see how the opposition can extricate itself from the hole of its own making without a tarnished reputation. It used Lam’s alleged abduction to stoke fear against having mainland officials at the West Kowloon express railway terminus.

That strategy is now in the same hole as the opposition. The loyalists must be smirking with glee.