A Democratic Party member has claimed that mainland law enforcement agents put 21 staples into his legs for being “unpatriotic” after they abducted him on Thursday. A lawmaker has called the incident “unacceptable and outrageous.”

The party told reporters on Friday that Howard Lam was accosted by Mandarin-speaking men at a sports merchandise store on Portland Street in Kowloon on Thursday. Lam said he was then taken away in a van, knocked out with a substance he was made to inhale, beaten and interrogated. He awoke the next day on a beach in Sai Kung.

howard lam injury
Photo: Kris Cheng/HKFP.

Democratic Party lawmaker Lam Cheuk-ting said it was a violation of the Basic Law and the One Country, Two Systems principle. He urged the Hong Kong government to conduct a thorough investigation of the incident.

“We want to send a very clear message to the Chinese authority that this kind of incident should not [have happened], and should not happen again,” Lam said.

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Prior to the incident, Lam said he received a call warning him not to send a signed photo of footballer Lionel Messi to Liu Xia, widow of Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo. The late Nobel Laureate was a fan of Messi, according to his friends. Lam added that only his wife and a few friends knew that he was heading to the sports shop on Thursday.

“Of course I have no idea how [the men] knew where I was going.”

democratic party agent china assault
Photo: Kris Cheng/HKFP

Lam also said that he believed the incident occurred to warn him not to give anything to Liu Xia, and to send a warning to others that – if they did not love the Chinese government – what happened to him might happen to them as well. He said his tormentors told him the staples inserted into his legs were in the form of crosses, as Lam was a Christian.

“I don’t think Hong Kong still has freedom. If the Hong Kong government cannot let us know what happened in this case, I think [many] people will be afraid [of] this government.”

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Lam Cheuk-ting next to Howard Lam at the press conference on Friday. screenshot.

A store manager of SFALO, where Lam was allegedly abducted, told HKFP on Friday that he did not see the incident take place. There were four staff members at the store at 4pm on Thursday, and he said he believed none of them would have seen the incident either.

SFALO, the sports merchandise shop in Mong Kok. Photo: Elson Tong/HKFP.

“I heard that the incident happened outside the store, and not inside,” he said.

Lam told reporters that he will attend hospital in Pokfulam and report the incident to the police on Friday.

Additional reporting: Karen Cheung, Elson Tong, Kris Cheng, Jun Pang.

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Hong Kong Free Press is a new, non-profit, English-language news source seeking to unite critical voices on local and national affairs. Free of charge and completely independent, HKFP arrives amid rising concerns over declining press freedom in Hong Kong and during an important time in the city’s constitutional development.