Hong Kong Law & Crime Politics & Protest

Democrat who says Chinese agents assaulted him accuses police of leaking ‘damaging’ details of investigation

Howard Lam, who claimed he was abducted and assaulted by mainland agents in Hong Kong, has criticised the police for leaking details of their investigation, calling the move unfair and damaging to his credibility.

Lam, a co-founder of the Democratic Party, claimed he was snatched by mainland security agents in Mong Kok over a gift he wished to send to Liu Xia, widow of late Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo. He said 21 staples were inserted into his legs by the alleged agents during the interrogation.

Secretary for Security John Lee said on Sunday that the police have conducted several investigations, including a review of surveillance cameras and a search for witnesses, yet no evidence has emerged showing the process of the abduction Lam has spoken of.

Howard Lam

Howard Lam. Photo: RTHK screenshot.

On Sunday, local media cited sources as saying that Lam did not show up to meet the police to make statements as scheduled. Previously, sources also told local media that Lam washed his clothes at home after he was released by his alleged tormentors.

Saying that he believed the police were leaking information to the media, Lam said it was “unprofessional” for details of an ongoing case to be revealed: “This is unfair and discredited [me].”

“I did not expect the police would tell reporters whether I made statements,” he said on a Commercial Radio programme. “Why did they reveal information about washed clothes? I find it very weird why reporters would receive such information.”

Lam said he did not show up on Sunday because he had a headache, and not in a good shape to make a police statement. However, he said he would schedule another session with the police.

Undersecretary for Security John Lee Ka-chiu

Secretary for Security John Lee Ka-chiu. File Photo: GovHK.

Lee Cheuk-yan, secretary of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China, said John Lee was misleading the public.

“The police did not see the abduction, it does not mean there was no abduction – the responsibility of the police is to investigate,” he said on the programme. “Usually [officials] will not make any statements during investigation, I find it very ridiculous that [John Lee] has been questioning the victim.”

Democratic Party lawmaker Lam Cheuk-ting said John Lee, a former police official, was “biased and irresponsible.”

“Is the victim not evidence? Howard Lam’s statements, the 21 staples are also evidence,” he said. “Do you have evidence that he lied? Show it if you have.”

democratic party agent china assault

Howard Lam with Albert Ho and Martin Lee. Photo: Kris Cheng/HKFP.

Lam dismissed questions about having emotional issues or any mental illness.

“I have a very clear mind – I don’t have a delusional disorder, or any hallucinations that I am being persecuted,” he said.

Lam also dismissed claims that he staged the incident himself.

“This is ridiculous and too imaginative,” he said. “I am not a minion of the Democratic Party, the party did not ask me to do that, and no one will insert staples into their thighs themselves.”

Lam said he did not think of calling the police after he was released “since it was a political incident.”

He said his wife and mother opposed the idea of hosting a high profile press conference over the incident.

“I didn’t want it to be high profile either. I even considered going to my family doctor to handle the staples,” he said on an RTHK programme.

“My mother was persecuted in the mainland – she told me not to make it high profile and stop talking about it. I intended to do so,” he added. “But I asked for advice from [Democratic Party veterans] Martin [Lee] and Albert Ho – my mother and my wife also discussed with them, eventually they were convinced I should host a press conference.”

Democrat who says Chinese agents assaulted him accuses police of leaking 'damaging' details of investigation