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Hong Kong high-speed rail

Lawmaker says abduction claim to have no effect on Hong Kong joint checkpoint views

Pro-Beijing politician also expresses scepticism over pan-democrat’s story

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 13 August, 2017, 3:28pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 13 August, 2017, 11:27pm

A Hong Kong pro-establishment lawmaker dismissed the idea that an alleged kidnapping and torture of a local democrat would erode public views on a joint checkpoint plan at a high-speed rail terminal in the city.

Federation of Trade Unions’ Wong Kwok-kin on Sunday said those who were able to “think rationally would not reach such a conclusion or believe the story so easily” and claimed the two matters were completely unrelated.

Democratic Party member Howard Lam Tsz-kin claimed he was abducted by mainland agents in Yau Ma Tei on Thursday, pushed into a van, taken to a building, beaten, and tortured with staples punched into his thighs. He said he woke up on a Sai Kung beach on Friday morning.

Lam held a press conference before reporting the matter to police, and believed the abduction was linked to his intention to send a signed postcard from Barcelona soccer star Lionel Messi to Liu Xia, widow of the late mainland dissident, Liu Xiaobo.

Pro-democracy activists and politicians have branded the incident a breach of the “one country, two systems” policy. They claimed it would erode public trust in plans to allow mainland criminal law to apply in an area of the West Kowloon terminal under what is being called a co-location arrangement.

But Wong expressed scepticism over such concerns.

Hong Kong democracy activists continue campaign for Liu Xia’s release despite alleged kidnapping

“This story itself is the subject of widespread doubts,” the lawmaker said of Lam’s account. “But even if it were true, it happened separately from co-location.”

“It’s meaningless to group the two issues together. If it happened under co-location in the future, then you could blame co-location. But it happened now, so why is co-location to blame?”

It’s meaningless to group the two issues together
Lawmaker Wong Kwok-kin

Meanwhile, security minister John Lee Ka-chiu on Sunday said police investigators’ considerable efforts had so far found little to substantiate Lam’s claims of abduction and torture.

Lee did not comment on whether the rule of law in Hong Kong and the government’s ability to protect its residents were being challenged in the aftermath of the Causeway Bay booksellers’ saga.

Asked if local officials had sought cooperation from the mainland, Lee said law enforcement in the city was Hong Kong’s responsibility and that police should be granted enough time to carry out their probe.

Lam’s affidavit and injury report were also being studied, he added. Criminal investigators from Kowloon West police were leading the probe.

Lee said Lam had refused police protection but that the force planned to stay in touch with him.

Lam said the entire matter was a “political issue”.