A human rights activist says Hongkongers may become more concerned about the controversial joint checkpoint arrangement, after a Democratic Party member was allegedly abducted and assaulted by mainland law enforcement agents on Thursday.

Law Yuk-kai of the Hong Kong Human Rights Monitor told HKFP on Friday: “[If] China no longer respects ‘One Country Two Systems’, the trust in mainland China will be further eroded amongst those who are concerned about freedoms in Hong Kong.”

Law Yuk-Kai. File Photo: HKFP.

“They will also be more worried about the joint checkpoint arrangement and the enforcement of mainland law in the heart of Hong Kong.”

The Democratic Party claimed on Friday that one of its members, Howard Lam, was grabbed by mainland law enforcement agents in Mong Kok before being falsely imprisoned, beaten, intimidated and then dumped on a beach. According to Lam, his tormentors put 21 staples into his legs for being “unpatriotic.” The staples were in the formation of crosses, as Lam is a Christian.

Photo: Kris Cheng/HKFP

Prior to his alleged abduction, Lam claimed he was warned not to send a signed photo of footballer Lionel Messi to Liu Xia, the widow of Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo. The late Nobel Laureate was a fan of Messi, according to his friends.

Law expressed outrage over the incident: “We strongly condemn acts of political violence and intimidation against those who peacefully exercise their freedoms.”
“We urge the Hong Kong and mainland Chinese government to investigate the relevant incident, so as to ensure that there is justice for Howard Lam and that he is free from fear,” he added.

Law said that the United Nations has previously already voiced concern over acts of political violence in Hong Kong. The government should take into account the recommendations of the UN Human Rights Committee and implement effective policies to prevent these incidents from happening, he said.

Mainland officers cannot enforce Chinese law in Hong Kong, according to the Article 22 of the Basic Law, Hong Kong’s de facto constitution.

Law added said that both governments should give an explanation to the Hong Kong people so that they would not have to live in fear.

Photo: Democratic Party.

The incident came as Hong Kong was debating the controversial joint checkpoint arrangement whereby the mainland will be allowed to lease a quarter of the West Kowloon terminus of the Express Rail Links. Agents will be allowed enforce Chinese law in the special area.

The Hong Kong government defended the arrangement saying the area will not be seen as Hong Kong anymore legally and thus it will not violate the Basic Law.

Karen is a journalist and writer covering politics and legal affairs in Hong Kong for HKFP. She has also written features on human rights, public space, regional legal developments, social and grassroots activism, and arts & culture. She is a BA and LLB graduate from the University of Hong Kong.