Hong Kong Paper Raises Reward to Find Lau’s Attackers

Hong Kong’s Ming Pao Daily News tripled its cash reward to HK$3 million ($387,000) for catching the assailants who critically injured its former chief editor Kevin Lau, the newspaper said today.

Media Chinese International Ltd.’s Ming Pao raised the offer after receiving donations from readers, it said in a front page report. Hong Kong police are hunting two motorcycle-riding men involved in the Feb. 26 knife attack on Lau.

Lau, 49, was ambushed in daylight as he got out of his car near a restaurant in Sai Wan Ho when a pillion passenger got off a motorcycle and struck him with a meat cleaver. The attack left Lau’s internal organs exposed and damaged crucial nerves in his legs, the South China Morning Post reported today.

The attack has fueled concerns among Hong Kong journalist associations that the city’s press freedom is being eroded and followed a Feb. 23 protest march attended by at least 1,600 people. The city’s ranking on the global Press Freedom Index compiled by Reporters Without Borders fell to 58 last year from 18 in 2002.

Detectives in the city’s organized crime unit have been ordered to pump informants to find the culprits, the newspaper said, citing an unidentified police officer.

Ming Pao said it is collecting news articles from last year that may have offended people, citing editorial director Cheung Kin-por.