Tue, Feb 17, 2009 - Page 5 News List

Journalists attacked at HK ‘home’ of Mugabe

AFP , HONG KONG

Two journalists were attacked as they investigated a report about Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe owning a luxury property in Hong Kong, a photographer said on Sunday.

Two men and a woman at the exclusive house attacked the journalists and seized a camera, Tim O’Rourke said.

Britain’s Sunday Times reported Mugabe and his wife Grace have secretly bought the US$5.8 million property in the city’s Tai Po district, which the report said was the first in Asia to be identified as the Mugabes’.

O’Rourke was attacked by Grace Mugabe and her bodyguards when he was with another photographer last month as they reported that Mugabe’s daughter, Bona, was studying at the University of Hong Kong.

O’Rourke said the latest attack happened on Friday as he and Colin Galloway went to the property to deliver a letter on behalf of the Sunday Times.

They were questioned by a black man and woman, and when O’Rourke went to take photographs of the house, he was attacked.

“She started shouting ‘He has got a camera. He is taking photos,’” O’Rourke said.

“[She and another man] both grabbed me. They were trying to rip the camera out of my hand,” O’Rourke said.

Another man appeared and O’Rourke was able to pass the camera to Galloway.

Galloway was then set upon and held in a headlock before the attackers were able to seize the camera.

O’Rourke then called the police and made a formal complaint of assault.

The two journalists were examined for injuries under police supervision at a city hospital.

The attackers were questioned and the camera was returned, he said.

A police spokesman said they were investigating the allegation of assault and no arrests had been made so far.

The Sunday Times said the Mugabes have stashed away millions of dollars in Asian bank accounts.

Anyone close to Mugabe faces travel bans in the EU and the US, but they are still able to travel throughout much of the region.

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