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Hong Kong activist ‘tortured’ by Chinese agents for sending a postcard signed by Lionel Messi

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Hong Kong (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Howard Lam Tsz-kin, a Democratic Party activist, today said that he was abducted yesterday in Yau Ma Tei by some mainlanders, blindfolded, beaten, and tortured with staples punched into his legs, and finally left unconscious on a beach in Sai Kung.

The activist said he was subjected to this treatment because he wanted to send a postcard signed by player Lionel Messi to Liu Xia, the wife of the great dissident Liu Xiaobo, who was left to die cancer in jail on 13 July. For Liu Xiaobo, Lionel Messi was the greatest football player.

At a press conference this morning, Lam explained that he had spoken of his plan with a Chinese acquaintance who warned him not to do it. His kidnappers apparently told him that he had to pay for ignoring that warning. Although politically motivated, the attack appears to be the work of thugs.

In Hong Kong, many pro-democracy groups continue to campaign for Li Xia’s release. She has been missing since her husband’s death.

Lam’s torture seems to be designed to sow fear in Hong Kong. The attack is similar to an incident involving five publishers and booksellers who were kidnapped more than a year ago and held in police custody in mainland China for months, for daring to publish critical books of China’s leaders.

Lam said that his kidnappers accused him of “not loving Hong Kong and China”. He showed reporters his legs with the 20 staples, all in the shape of a cross. One of his attackers asked him: “Are you a Christian? Do you know how to love the country and the religion? . . . I’ll give you some crosses”.

Other members of Hong Kong’s Democratic Party believe some powerful figure in China might be behind the attack (perhaps enemies of Xi Jinping, who visited Hong Kong on 1 July).

They went on to say that they would not stop asking for Liu Xia’s freedom.

Other parties point their finger at Hong Kong police for failing to protect a Hong Kong citizen. By contrast, China’s security services appear to be able to act undisturbed in the city once protected by the “nation, two systems” principle.

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