A Democratic Party member said he was seized by unidentified men in Mong Kok on Thursday afternoon and brought to an unknown location where he was tortured while blindfolded and gagged.
In a hastily called press conference on Friday, Howard Lam said he believed his abductors were mainland security agents as they kept interrogating him if he knew Liu Xia, widow of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo, who died of liver cancer while in state custody last month.
Lam was accompanied in the press conference by Martin Lee, the party’s founding chairman, a number of the party’s former and incumbent legislators, as well as plainclothes police officers.
He said before his abduction, he had been trying to send an autographed postcard by FC Barcelona forward Lionel Messi to Liu Xia, as her late husband was an avid fan of the Argentine soccer star.
He said the incident happened at around 4 p.m. on Thursday while he was buying a T-shirt in a store on bustling Portland Street.
He claimed that he was grabbed and forced into a nearby van by some Putonghua-speaking men, and he was slapped and made unconscious by some chemical.
When he woke up, he said he found himself tied to a plank. The men then tortured him with a loaded stapler applied to both of his thighs, leaving him with a dozen of deep, cross-shaped wounds.
The pain was so sharp that he fainted again, he said.
Hours later, Lam said, he found himself lying on a beach in Sai Kung at around 1 a.m., with his abductors gone.
Lam said that three days before his abduction, he received several phone calls from unknown individuals asking him not to send the postcard to Liu Xia.
Lam’s experience is reminiscent of the serial abduction of three Hong Kong booksellers in 2015.
Causeway Bay Bookstore’s Lee Bo was believed to have been hijacked by mainland agents in Hong Kong, though he insisted he had crossed the border on his own.
His colleague Lam Wing-kee later gave an appalling account of his illegal detention and forced confession after he was detained and interrogated in a mainland facility for eight months.
Police this afternoon said they are aware of media reports about Lam’s alleged abduction. The Regional Crime Unit of West Kowloon is investigating the case.
Police Commissioner Lo Wai-chung said Lam has yet file a formal report to the police, but Lam’s claims during the press conference contains serious allegations.
Lo stressed that the police force attaches great importance to the personal safety of Hongkongers and that no law enforcement units, other than local officers, are allowed to discharge their duties in Hong Kong.
He urged anyone with knowledge of the incident to contact the police.
Lam is currently receiving treatment at Queen Mary Hospital and it is understood he is being guarded by local police officers.
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Lam shows his multiple wounds at the press conference before his admission to the hospital on Friday. Photo: HKEJ
Cross-shaped wounds caused by staples are seen on Lam’s thighs. He is now receiving treatment at Queen Mary Hospital. Photo: HKEJ