Democratic Party member Howard Lam has been discharged from hospital following surgery, a day after he claimed he was abducted and beaten by mainland security agents in Mong Kok. He refused police protection and said he wished to start his academic studies in the US soon.

The 21 staples which he said were inserted into his legs by the alleged agents, were removed by surgeons within 30 minutes without the use of anaesthetic.

“I am exhausted. I just want the matter to end soon,” he said on Saturday at the Queen Mary Hospital.

Photo: Democratic Party.

Lam said on Friday that Mandarin-speaking men accosted and interrogated him over a signed photo of footballer Lionel Messi. He intended to send the photo to Liu Xia, widow of late Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, who was a fan of the Argentine footballer. He said the men called him “unpatriotic” as they inserted the staples in the formation of crosses, since he is a Christian.

He had planned to soon go to Yale University for a PhD research scholar program, which he said he may start by the end of the month.

“I will go overseas to study, this is my biggest goal… I will focus on my academic studies,” he said, dismissing questions about having any political goals.

Howard Lam
Howard Lam. Photo: RTHK screenshot,

But, refusing police protection, Lam said he was not optimistic that the police will be able to find the culprits.

“Everyone wants to know the truth… But politically, the police are state apparatus, I don’t know how much they can do with this political incident. I don’t have much hope. I wish Hong Kong could be better, I don’t want it to become a scarier place,” he said.

When he was released by his tormentors at around 1am Friday, he found that he had been dumped on a Sai Kung beach. He found a taxi and returned to his home, but he did not report the incident to the police until he had hosted a press conference at 11am on Friday.

Howard Lam
Police investigating around the area Howard Lam was allegedly abducted. Photo: RTHK screenshot.

Lam explained on Saturday again that he did not call the police immediately after he was released, since he was in fear, and was concerned that he would not have the opportunity to speak to the media. He decided to host the press conference first, he said, after discussing the matter with Democratic Party veterans, former lawmakers Martin Lee and Albert Ho.

YouTube video

The police have conducted investigations around Portland Street in Mong Kok, where Lam claimed he was abducted, and at Sha Ha beach in Sai Kung.

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.