Kevin Lau, the 49-year-old former editor of the respected Ming Pao newspaper (who was unexpectedly replaced last month by journalist with no experience) following his reporting on human rights abuses in China is in critical condition after being attacked with a meat-cleaver. As The Daily Mail reports, slashed three times by a man in a crash helmet in a residential neighbourhood who then fled on a motorbike, police said. His sudden dismissal sparked protests across the city over freedom of the press as the move raised fears among journalists that the newspaper’s owners were moving to curb aggressive reporting on human rights and corruption in China. It appears, given this attack, they were right.
The former editor of a Hong Kong newspaper is in critical condition after being attacked with a meat clever earlier today.
Kevin Lau was slashed three times by a man in a crash helmet in a residential neighbourhood who then fled on a motorbike, police said.
Lau was hospitalised in critical condition with slashes in his back and legs, said Kwan King-pan, acting superintendent of Hong Kong Police.
Police are searching for two men in connection with the attack.
‘One of them alighted from the motorcycle and used a chopper to attack the victim,’ police spokesman Simon Kwan told reporters.
‘He suffered three wounds, one in his back and two in his legs,’ Mr Kwan said, adding that the back wound was deep.
Police did not announce any motive for the attack and appealed to the public for information.
Lau was replaced last month after criticising the Chinese government over human right’s abuses
Lau, 49, was named editor of the respected Ming Pao newspaper in 2012 but was replaced last month by a Malaysian journalist with no local experience.
Lau was transferred to the parent company’s electronic publishing unit.
The move raised fears among journalists that the newspaper’s owners were moving to curb aggressive reporting on human rights and corruption in China.
His sudden dismissal sparked protests across the city over freedom of the press.
The Hong Kong Journalists Association said it was shocked and angered by the attack, calling it a ‘serious provocation to Hong Kong press freedom.’
Speaking outside hospital, Hong Kong leader Leung Chun-ying said: ‘We strongly condemn this savage act.’
Freedom of speech and the press is a growing concern in the semi-autonomous Chinese city, where such rights are guaranteed by its mini-constitution.
On Sunday, thousands of people took to the streets to protest Lau’s dismissal, the ousting of an outspoken radio host, and reports that Beijing-backed businesses were pulling ads from some newspapers over editorial stances.