BEIJING – A Hong Kong politician has alleged he was illegally detained and tortured by Chinese police officers, in a report published by the Hong Kong Free Press on Friday.
Howard Lam, from the opposition Democratic Party, said he believes he was abducted because he had wanted to pass on a signed postcard from soccer star Lionel Messi to Liu Xia, widow of Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, who had passed away recently.
Lam said a group of men speaking in Mandarin (the official language of China, as opposed to Cantonese which is spoken in Hong Kong) had approached him at a sports shop in Mong Kok district, a popular commercial area in the Kowloon peninsula on Thursday.
They had picked him up, illegally detained him and tortured him for around nine hours, and finally left him on a beach on Friday.
Three days before the incident, Lam had received a phone call from someone allegedly linked to the Chinese security forces warning him not to send the postcard to Liu Xia, who is allegedly being held in solitary confinement in Beijing by the Chinese authorities.
According to the Hong Kong Basic Law (local constitution), Chinese police and other security agencies of China do not have jurisdiction in Hong Kong.
However, incidents like these have been on the rise and have led to fears that Beijing is trying to extend its methods of repression in the region after 20 years of wide autonomy.