ucanews.com reporter, Hong Kong
Updated: August 11, 2017 10:24 AM GMT
Howard Lam Tsz-kin, a Protestant member of the Democratic Party, shows the Messi image that he planned to send to Liu Xia. (Screenshot from Now TV)
A Hong Kong Protestant politician has had crosses stapled to his legs after he was held unconscious by kidnappers allegedly for voicing support for Liu Xia, the wife of recently deceased Nobel Prize Laureate and political prisoner Liu Xiaobo.
Howard Lam Tsz-kin, a member of the Democratic Party, told media Aug. 11 he was kidnapped by two men while he was out shopping the day before.
Lam said they forced him into a vehicle and switched off his mobile phone and then used chemicals to render him unconscious.
When Lam became conscious, he found he was in a room in a non-urban area and that he had been stripped down to his underpants. There were four or five Mandarin-speaking men in the room who would not identify themselves, he said.
They beat him and then went one step further. Lam recounted how the kidnappers said that as he is a Christian, they would pierce him with staplers and give him his own crosses.
The men then punched more than 10 crosses using staples into his upper thighs which Lam showed during the press conference.
During the abuse and torture, Lam said one of the kidnappers asked him: "Why don't you love your country and religion?"
More than 90 percent of people in Hong Kong speak the Cantonese dialect while Mandarin is spoken by visitors from mainland China. "Love the country and religion" is a term used in mainland China to imply religions should submit to state authority control.
After 10 to 20minutes of torment, Lam said he again became unconscious until he woke up on a beach in the area of Sai Kung in the early hours of Aug. 11.
Crosses made by staplers in the thighs of Howard Lam, a Protestant member of the Democratic Party. (Screenshot from RTHK)
The photo of Messi
Lam said the incident was related to his concern for Liu Xia, wife of Nobel Laureate Liu Xiaobo who died in a hospital in China's northeast on July 13.
Liu Xia remains missing following her husband's funeral. It is believed she is secretly being held by Chinese security officials.
In 2009, Liu Xiaobo was sentenced to 11 years' jail for his activism by a closed kangaroo court of China's ruling Communist Party. His wife has suffered from depression due to her being under house arrest since 2010.
Lam said that he had recently shown on Facebook a signed photo of Argentinean soccer player Lionel Messi that he intended to send to Liu Xia as he learned her husband was a fan of the soccer star.
Lam said the kidnappers told him not to send the photo. A few days earlier, he also received an anonymous call that warned him not to do so or he "would have to face the consequences."
'Agents from mainland China'
Lam Cheuk-ting, a lawmaker of the Democratic Party, alleged the kidnappers were agents from mainland China.
"We would not allow people from powerful departments in mainland China to come to Hong Kong to abuse their power," Lam Cheuk-ting said at the press conference.
"It violates the Basic Law, the 'One Country, Two Systems' principle. Kidnapping, threatening and torturing is a very serious crime in Hong Kong, no matter their identity, whether they are from mainland authorities or not," he said.
The lawmaker wanted the Hong Kong government to conduct a thorough investigation.