Nine arrested over chopping attack on Hong Kong journalist

March 12, 2014 - 2:26:13 pm

HONG KONG: Nine men have been arrested in connection with the chopping attack on a former editor of a Hong Kong newspaper that sparked concerns over press freedom, police said Wednesday.

Two triad-connected suspects were arrested on the Chinese mainland, while seven "accomplices" were arrested in a raid in Hong Kong, police commissioner Andy Tsang told reporters.

They are suspected of involvement in the brutal attack in broad daylight on veteran journalist Kevin Lau last month.

Lau, a former editor of the liberal Ming Pao newspaper, was hacked with a cleaver by two men who escaped on a motorbike.

"We have been informed (that) two had been arrested in Guangdong (province)... by the mainland authorities," Tsang said.

"The two suspected assailants, both aged 37, are Hong Kong residents and are believed to have a triad background," he added.

Tsang did not say when the arrests in Guangdong were made, close to the border with Hong Kong, but said the southern Chinese city's police force were informed of them on March 9.

The commissioner added that his police force had arrested the other seven on Wednesday.

"Investigations are ongoing and further arrests may be made," he said.

Lau was moved out of intensive care and onto a private ward earlier this month.

The attack came as unease grows over freedom of press in Hong Kong with mounting concerns that Beijing is seeking to tighten control over the semi-autonomous region. (AFP)