A man accused of a savage knife attack on a journalist in Hong Kong told a court on Thursday he was “beaten” into confessing to the grisly crime in his first day of testimony at the trial.
Two men have been charged over the attack on Kevin Lau (劉進圖), former editor of the investigative Ming Pao newspaper, after the brutal street attack carried out in broad daylight in February last year by two men who then escaped on a motorcycle.
Yip Kim-wah (葉劍華) and Wong Chi-wah (黃志華), both 39, have denied charges of malicious wounding with the intent to cause grievous bodily harm at the city’s high court. The pair were detained in China before being returned to Hong Kong to be formally arrested in mid-March last year.
However, Yip, who for the first time testified in court on Thursday, said he was forced to confess while under detention for “over one week” in China.
“They kept asking me if I did it. When I answered no, they would beat me,” Yip told the jury, adding he sustained injuries to his head, abdomen and chest during the interrogation.
“I could only compromise and do whatever,” he told his lawyer, Kevin Egan, through a translator.
Yip also alleged that a Chinese official had told him Beijing did not want the case to become a political issue and he could be executed if he did not cooperate.
At cross-examination, prosecutor Nicholas Adams suggested CCTV had captured Yip near Lau’s home ahead of the attack.
However, the electrician said he only went there to find an ex-boss who owed him wages. The hearing continued yesterday.
Adams earlier said Yip had told police he drove Wong to a street where Lau usually ate after being offered HK$100,000 (US$12,900) to carry out the hit.
Earlier in the trial, the 50-year-old Lau, who was stabbed six times, recalled how he was attacked by “a hard object” before a motorcycle carrying two men sped off.
“My legs felt numb. I saw blood in my palm and my leg had no power,” he said.
The attack came just weeks after Lau was removed from his position at the helm of Ming Pao and replaced with an editor deemed to be pro-Beijing. His sacking triggered staff protests and widespread fears that Beijing was tightening control of the press.
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