Democratic Party activist Howard Lam has pleaded not guilty to making a false report to the police over claims that he was kidnapped by “mainland agents” in Hong Kong last year.

The case was heard before Principal Magistrate Woo Huey-fang at the Kowloon Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday afternoon. Lam – who was accompanied by Democratic Party veteran Albert Ho – pleaded not guilty to one count of knowingly making a false report of a crime to police.

Lam told the court that he was “an innocent victim” and would “rather die than submit.”

Howard Lam.

Last August, Lam said he was abducted and assaulted by suspected mainland agents in Hong Kong. He claimed that he was falsely imprisoned, interrogated and assaulted by men who inserted 21 staples into his legs.

However, after investigative news agency Factwire published CCTV clips appearing to contradict Lam’s version of events, he was arrested for misleading the police. The charge was later changed to making a false report, which carries the same penalty.

The prosecution on Tuesday told the court that there were 172 witnesses involved in the case, but Magistrate Woo said that she would not allow the prosecution to call so many witnesses, HK01 reported.

Lam’s lawyer said they sought to invite experts in forensic pathology to testify in court.

Kowloon City Law Courts Building. Photo: Wikicommons.

The pre-trial review has been scheduled for June 15. Lam has been released on bail.

Under the Police Force 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 HK$1,000 and imprisonment for six months.

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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.