A Hong Kong businessman living in Taiwan was behind a plot to shoot leading democrats Jimmy Lai (黎智英) and Martin Lee (李柱銘), a report said yesterday.
The unidentified businessman put up US$1 million to Chinese crime bosses to attack Lai, a media mogul, and Lee, a leading politician, the Sunday Morning Post reported, citing police evidence from a trial in Shenzhen.
Two of the suspects in the case pinpointed the businessman as the mastermind behind the plot, which was foiled last summer, the English-language paper said.
Tung Nga-man, who reports have said is a senior leader in the Triad crime group, told police he had flown to Taiwan to meet the businessman.
“[The businessman] said Lai was anti-government and anti-state and so on, and that it should be OK to spend some money to teach him a lesson,” the Post quoted Tung as telling police.
Another defendant at the trial in Shenzhen, over the Chinese border from Hong Kong, was told the payment would be US$1 million for murdering Lai and US$700,000 for injuring him, the report said.
The attack was planned for July 1, when both men were taking part in Hong Kong’s annual pro-democracy march, the paper said.
A Hong Kong court last month jailed a Chinese gunman to 16 years for possessing a firearm with the intention of causing harm.
A second man was handed a three-year jail term after admitting possessing firearms in connection with the plot.
The plot was foiled after a police officer stopped the gunman by chance at a Hong Kong police checkpoint last August, the court heard.
He was found to have a pistol and five rounds of ammunition in his bag, as well as personal details of Lee and Lai, whose Apple Daily newspapers in Hong Kong and Taiwan are frequent critics of Beijing’s policies.
Ten defendants are on trial in Shenzhen.