Pro-democracy activists attend a candlelight vigil to urge the police to solve the stabbing incident involving former chief editor of the Ming Pao daily, Kevin Lau Chun-to, at a hospital in Hong Kong yesterday.
HONG KONG: A former chief editor of a major Hong Kong newspaper known for its critical reporting was stabbed and seriously wounded yesterday in an attack likely to fuel concern among journalists about what many see as an erosion of media freedoms.
A man in a helmet attacked Kevin Lau Chun-to, former chief editor of the Ming Pao daily, slashing him in the back several times. The assailant rode off on a motorcycle with an accomplice.
Lau was in critical condition in hospital after managing to summon police himself. Police said they had so far no clues as to who might have carried out the attack.
The attack took place days after 6,000 journalists marched to Hong Kong’s government headquarters to demand the city’s leaders uphold press freedom against what they see as intrusions from mainland China.
The motive for the attack was unclear and an incident of such brutality is unusual in the former British colony, which reverted to Chinese rule in 1997.
The Hong Kong Journalists’ Association denounced it and called on authorities to “pursue his attackers and those malignant forces behind them without fear or favour.”
“The attackers must be brought to justice as quickly as possible to allay public fears,” the group said.
Hong Kong is a freewheeling capitalist hub which enjoys a high degree of autonomy and freedom, but Beijing’s Communist Party leaders have resisted public pressure for full democracy.
Beijing has agreed in principle for the city to hold direct elections in 2017,
Lau was recently replaced by a Malaysian Chinese journalist with suspected pro-Beijing leanings who takes up his duties this week.
His removal sparked a revolt in the Ming Pao newsroom by journalists who suggested the paper’s editorial independence might be undermined.
“We hope the police can swiftly prosecute the culprit as many cases of attacks against the media in the past have ended up being unsolved,” said Phyllis Tsang of the Ming Pao Staff Concern Group. Reuters