Sat, Aug 12, 2017 - Page 1 News List

HK politician says ‘stapled by Chinese agents’

MESSI PHOTO:Howard Lam said that he was told not to give a photo signed by soccer star Lionel Messi to the widow of deceased Nobel winner Liu Xiaobo

Reuters, HONG KONG

Hong Kong politician Howard Lam shows his stapled thighs and injuries at a news conference in Hong Kong yesterday.

Photo: EPA

Hong Kong’s Democratic Party member Howard Lam (林子健) yesterday said that he was beaten and “stapled” by mainland Chinese agents before being dumped on a beach.

He said he was even warned in a telephone call not to give a photograph signed by Barcelona soccer star Lionel Messi to the widow of Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo (劉曉波).

Lam, a pro-democracy advocate, said he had received a call from a mainland Chinese person claiming to be part of the Chinese intelligence services.

He said he was warned not to give the Messi photo to the widow of Liu, the imprisoned Chinese Nobel laureate who died from cancer last month.

It was not immediately clear how they knew of his plans to do so.

Lam was later confronted by men speaking Mandarin, spoken in Beijing but not widely in Cantonese-speaking Hong Kong, outside a sports store in the territory, he told reporters.

Lam said the men took him away, interrogating him and stapling his skin 21 times for being “unpatriotic” in a nine-hour ordeal.

He said they hit him in the stomach repeatedly and told him they knew he was a Christian so they wanted to give him a cross, and then used a stapler on his thighs to make X’s.

He was knocked out and eventually found himself dumped on a beach in Hong Kong’s remote Sai Kung District, Lam said.

Before Liu died last month of cancer while in custody, Lam wrote to Barcelona to ask for a signed photo of the Argentina player that he could forward to Liu because he thought it would cheer him up.

Liu was reputed to be a soccer fan and Messi follower.

The photo arrived after Liu died, so Lam said he would then try to get it to his wife, Liu Xia (劉霞).

He held the photo up at a news conference, where he also let reporters see staples still in his legs.

Hong Kong police and the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office of China’s State Council were not immediately available for comment.

The report comes as hostility toward Beijing has increased and a battle for full democracy has become a defining issue for some in the city of 7.3 million people.

Hong Kong became a “special administrative region” of China in 1997, since when it has been governed under a “one country, two systems” formula that guarantees a range of freedoms not enjoyed in China, including a direct vote for half of the 70-seat legislative assembly.

Additional reporting by AP

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