Police Commissioner Stephen Lo has promised a thorough investigation of Democratic Party member Howard Lam’s allegations that he was abducted and assaulted by mainland law enforcement agents in Hong Kong.

At a press conference on Friday, Lam claimed that he was abducted from a sports merchandise shop in Mong Kok by mainland agents, assaulted, knocked out and then dumped on a beach hours later.

Police commissioner Stephen Lo. Photo: RTHK screenshot.

Lam said he previously received a warning from a mainland Chinese individual claiming to be affiliated with Chinese national security agencies. The warning concerned his plan to send a signed photo of footballer Lionel Messi to Liu Xia, the widow of Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo. Friends say that the late Nobel Laureate was a fan of Messi.

The high-ranking Democratic Party member says his tormentors put 21 staples into his leg. He is being treated at Pokfulam’s Queen Mary’s Hospital.

Photo: Kris Cheng/HKFP

Lo said the force was highly concerned about the incident: “We will not miss any leads or evidence,” Lo told reporters. Officers from the West Kowloon Regional Crime Unit are looking into the case, he added.

Lo said that they did not receive any reports on the incident prior to Lam’s press conference this morning, and that he did not have details about the case yet. However, he said that police would not permit overseas law enforcement departments to operate in the city: “If they do so, it’s against the law, and we will do our best to investigate and pursue this.”

Photo: Kris Cheng/HKFP

Lo said the allegations were serious and urged the public to report such incidents to the police immediately, as it will increase the likelihood of the case being resolved.

“[W]ith this incident, we only found out about it through the media – and it might affect our investigation because others might have escaped or destroyed evidence.”

In response to the incident, fellow pro-democracy party Demosisto urged the authorities to bring the perpetrators to justice.

“Demosisto strongly condemns such inhumane torture, and reiterates that no one should ever experience such violence because of their political stances and opinions. The party’s sincere thoughts go out to Mr. Lam…” it said.

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.