Skip to main content

Hong Kong newspaper editor Kevin Lau fights for life after stabbing

By Wilfred Chan, CNN
February 27, 2014 -- Updated 0019 GMT (0819 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Former Ming Pao chief editor Kevin Lau stabbed three times
  • Lau is in critical condition; attackers are still at large
  • Lau was sacked as editor last month, stirring outcry about Hong Kong's press freedom

Hong Kong (CNN) -- Hong Kong newspaper editor Kevin Lau, who became the center of controversy last month after being sacked from his post, is fighting for his life after being stabbed multiple times by an unknown attacker in Hong Kong, police say.

Lau, who was walking to his car at the time of the attack early Wednesday, was left bleeding with life-threatening injuries to a lung, his wife told journalists. Lau was taken to the city's Eastern Hospital.

The assailant escaped after jumping onto a motorcycle that was being driven by another man, police say.

Last month, journalists were outraged when Lau was suddenly sacked from his post as the chief editor of Ming Pao, a newspaper known for its hard-hitting reporting on China. Over 90% of Lau's staff filed a petition demanding an explanation for Lau's removal, and some Ming Pao writers left their columns blank in protest.

'Outraged'

Hong Kong's chief executive C.Y. Leung issued a statement Wednesday, saying he was "indignant" and "outraged" at the attack on Lau.

Protesters hold a picture of former Ming Pao editor Kevin Lau outside a hospital in Hong Kong.
Protesters hold a picture of former Ming Pao editor Kevin Lau outside a hospital in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong journalists protest censorship

"Hong Kong is a society ruled by law, and we will not tolerate this kind of violence," he said.

Hong Kong Journalists Association vice-chairman Shirley Yam said she felt "terrified."

"No journalist should be subject to violence," she told CNN. "I have known Kevin for 30 years and I cannot think of any reason why anyone would try to kill him."

Worrying trend

The attack on Lau comes in the wake of Sunday's demonstration by thousands of Hong Kongers protesting what they see as rapidly escalating efforts by China's Communist Party to control Hong Kong's media.

During the protest many of Lau's former colleagues spoke, saying Lau's dismissal reflected a worrying trend of media repression in the former British colony.

Wednesday's incident is not the first example of a physical attack on Hong Kong's media. Last June, knife-wielding arsonists threatened workers and burnt 20,000 copies of the Apple Daily, another Hong Kong newspaper critical of the government.

The Foreign Correspondents Club of Hong Kong released a statement Wednesday. "The growing number of attacks against members of the press in Hong Kong needs to be taken seriously by the local administration," the document said.

"Hong Kong's reputation as a free and international city will suffer if such crimes go unsolved and unpunished."

French-based Reporters Without Borders ranked Hong Kong 61st worldwide in press freedom in 2014 -- a far cry from its 18th place ranking in 2002, when its surveys were first conducted.

READ MORE: Hong Kong press freedom at all-time low

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
October 17, 2014 -- Updated 1113 GMT (1913 HKT)
A smuggler in Dandong, a Chinese border town near North Korea, tells CNN about the underground trade with North Korean soldiers
October 17, 2014 -- Updated 0654 GMT (1454 HKT)
Yenn Wong got quite a surprise one morning earlier this month when she found out an exact copy of her Hong Kong restaurant had opened in China.
October 15, 2014 -- Updated 0315 GMT (1115 HKT)
When I first came across a "virtual lover" service on e-commerce site Taobao, China's version of Amazon, I thought it was hype.
October 14, 2014 -- Updated 1315 GMT (2115 HKT)
Each year Yi Jiefeng does what she can to stop China turning into a desert.
October 13, 2014 -- Updated 1454 GMT (2254 HKT)
As its relationship with the West worsen, Russia is pivoting east in an attempt to secure business with China.
October 8, 2014 -- Updated 0229 GMT (1029 HKT)
Aspiring Chinese comics performing in Shanghai's underground comedy scene hope to bring stand-up to the masses.
September 30, 2014 -- Updated 1654 GMT (0054 HKT)
Liu Wen is one of the world's highest-paid models and the first Chinese face to crack the top five in Forbes' annual list of top earners.
October 3, 2014 -- Updated 1144 GMT (1944 HKT)
Cunning wolf? Working class hero? Or bland Beijing loyalist? C.Y. Leung was a relative unknown when he came to power in 2012.
October 2, 2014 -- Updated 1125 GMT (1925 HKT)
 A man uses his smartphone on July 16, 2014 in Tokyo, Japan. Only 53.5% of Japanese owned smartphones in March, according to a white paper released by the Ministry of Communications on July 15, 2014. The survey of a thousand participants each from Japan, the U.S., Britain, France, South Korea and Singapore, demonstrated that Japan had the fewest rate of the six; Singapore had the highest at 93.1%, followed by South Korea at 88.7%, UK at 80%, and France at 71.6%, and U.S. at 69.6% in the U.S. On the other hand, Japan had the highest percentage of regular mobile phone owners with 28.7%. (Photo by Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images)
App hopes to help those seeking a way out of China's overstrained public health system.
October 3, 2014 -- Updated 0020 GMT (0820 HKT)
Yards from pro-democracy protests, stands the Hong Kong garrison of the People's Liberation Army (PLA), China's armed forces.
October 2, 2014 -- Updated 1123 GMT (1923 HKT)
The massive street rallies that have swept Hong Kong present a major dilemma for China's leadership.
September 27, 2014 -- Updated 0707 GMT (1507 HKT)
Chinese wine drinkers need to develop a taste for the cheap stuff, not just premium red wines like Lafite.
September 24, 2014 -- Updated 0109 GMT (0909 HKT)
The Dalai Lama, Tibet's spiritual leader, set off a media kerfuffle this month when he spoke about his next reincarnation.
September 28, 2014 -- Updated 1418 GMT (2218 HKT)
He's one of the fieriest political activists in Hong Kong — he's been called an "extremist" by China's state-run media — and he's not old enough to drive.
September 23, 2014 -- Updated 0257 GMT (1057 HKT)
China has no wine-making tradition but the country now uncorks more bottles of red than any other.
September 16, 2014 -- Updated 0929 GMT (1729 HKT)
Christians in eastern China keep watch in Wenzhou, where authorities have demolished churches and removed crosses.
September 10, 2014 -- Updated 0538 GMT (1338 HKT)
Home-grown hip-hop appeals to a younger generation but its popularity has not translated into record deals and profits for budding rap artists.
ADVERTISEMENT