Hong Kong: Former editor Kevin Lau Chun-to stabbed in triad-style hit 

Journalist known for his fearless investigative reporting on mainland China was stabbed in the back and legs

Hong Kong

Journalists have said they fear for the future of Hong Kong’s press freedom after the vicious stabbing of a former newspaper editor known for his fearless investigative reporting on mainland China.

Kevin Lau Chun-to was left fighting for his life on Wednesday after he was stabbed in the back and legs, with wounds so deep that his chest cavity and vital organs were exposed.

Police sources described the attack on Mr Lau, 49, recently removed from his post as editor of Hong Kong newspaper Ming Pao, as a classic triad-style hit meant as a “warning” rather than to kill. No arrests have been made.

Speaking today, Mr Lau’s wife Vivian said his condition was stable after life-saving surgery, and he can now communicate in writing. He remains in intensive care.

Speculation has been rife that the attack on Mr Lau, described by friends and colleagues as “gentle” and a “reserved academic”, was related to his investigative work in collaboration with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) into the offshore assets of thousands of mainland Chinese and Hongkongers, including some related to China’s leaders.

This included uncovering confidential files on relatives of Chinese President Xi Jinping, former Premier Wen Jiabao, and several members of China’s National People’s Congress. The ICIJ however said they were not aware of any evidence linking the attack to the investigation.

Staff members of Ming Pao hold its newspaper printed on 27 February in which former chief editor of Ming Pao kevin Lau Chun-to was stabbed Staff members of Ming Pao hold its newspaper printed on 27 February in which former chief editor of Ming Pao kevin Lau Chun-to was stabbed (Getty Images)
Hong Kong Journalists Association vice-chairwoman Shirley Yam, a long-time friend of Mr Lau’s, said: “The whole thing is outrageous, that someone can chop up a journalist in broad daylight. We strongly believe that with his job, where invisible interference has already come by removing him as chief editor, he has antagonised someone.”

Hong Kong lawmaker and former journalist Claudia Mo Man-ching said: “We have to take it very seriously. The Hong Kong government is kowtowing to pressure from Beijing. [Hong Kong Chief Executive] CY Leung is conveniently ignoring the call for legislation for the freedom of information act in Hong Kong while he is getting what he calls a ‘stalking law’ through, which would harm press freedom, as journalists would not be allowed to stalk politicians, himself included.”

Media organisations have condemned the attack, with students and journalists coining the phrase “You can’t kill us all” as an expression of their defiant solidarity. An anti-violence march by journalists and other supporters to government offices under this banner is planned for Sunday.

Bob Dietz, Asia coordinator for the Committee to Protect Journalists said: “I’m not prepared to immediately link the attack to Lau’s reporting on China, but I do think there is a growing chilling effect on journalists and media houses in Hong Kong, and that pressure is coming from China.”

Francis Moriarty, vice president at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club Hong Kong, said: “An attack on him is an attack on all of us.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Planning Administrator

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are currently looking to rec...

Recruitment Genius: Media & Advertising Sales Executive

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This national business publishi...

Recruitment Genius: IT Service Desk Manager

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A great opportunity to join a p...

Recruitment Genius: Quantity Surveyor / Assistant Quantity Surveyor

£23698 - £30978 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This not-for-profit company man...

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones