Democratic Party member Howard Lam has been arrested for misleading police after claiming last week that he was abducted and assaulted by mainland agents.

Lam told reporters last Friday that he was taken away by Mandarin-speaking men in Mong Kok. He claimed that he was falsely imprisoned, interrogated and assaulted by the men, who allegedly inserted 21 staples into his legs.

Prior to the events, Lam said he received a call warning him not to send a gift to Liu Xia, widow of Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo. Both the call and the alleged abduction were reported to the police last Friday.

howard lam
Howard Lam was arrested by the police on Tuesday morning. Photo: RTHK screencap.

Police confirmed to HKFP that a 42-year-old man surnamed Lam was arrested in Mong Kok in the early hours of Tuesday morning. Lam was detained overnight for investigation.

The West Kowloon Regional Crime Unit met with Lam and conducted preliminary investigations, looking through CCTV footage and conducting questionnaires with shops in the vicinity, a police spokesperson told HKFP.

“[What Lam] claimed happened that day did not match the results of the investigation. The police have reason to believe that he gave false information and misled police officers,” the spokesperson said.

The police added that there is no evidence so far to show that anyone committed the offence of false imprisonment in the busy streets of Hong Kong, as Lam alleged.

The police criticised his actions, saying that apart from wasting police resources, his accusations created unnecessary fear amongst the public.

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On Monday evening, investigative newswire Factwire reported that multiple CCTV clips obtained by the newswire contradicted Lam’s version of events.

According to Factwire, clips appear to show Lam leaving Portland Street around 5pm. The figure, wearing a cap, surgical mask and sunglasses, was alone; no suspicious persons were seen during the three-minute walk.

After viewing the clips, Lam said the masked man was not him and said that he did not put on a surgical mask or cap that day. He also questioned the source and credibility of the footage.

Under the Police Office Ordinance, anyone who makes a false report to the police or misleads officers by giving false information is guilty of an offence, and liable to a fine of $1,000 and imprisonment for 6 months.

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.