On February 26 Kevin Lau, the former chief editor of the Hong Kong newspaper Ming Pao, was stabbed three times by an unknown assailant. Lau is reportedly in critical condition. Ming Pao was one of ICIJ’s partners in the Offshore Leaks investigation, and ICIJ director Gerard Ryle made the following statement today in response to the attack.
The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) is horrified to learn of the brutal knife attack on Kevin Lau, the former Chief Editor of our Hong Kong media partner, the Ming Pao newspaper. Our thoughts and prayers are with Kevin and his family, and we remain hopeful that local police will apprehend the perpetrators as soon as possible.
While many have speculated about the motives behind the attack, we are not aware of any evidence linking the violence to Ming Pao's reporting partnership with ICIJ on the Offshore Leaks investigation. Such speculation, however, does reflect the real concern and anxiety felt by many in the Hong Kong press corps over continuing threats to press freedom. There is simply no justification for such an attack and it should provoke outrage in all fair-minded citizens. We were proud to work with such a brave newspaper editor on such an important reporting project.
Police today arrested nine suspects, including two men with suspected triad links, in connection with the attack on the former editor.
Two Hong Kong men, both aged 37, were arrested in Dongguan, China with the assistance of mainland police, while Hong Kong police also apprehended seven suspected accomplices.
Hong Kong police commissioner Andy Tsang told a press conference that police would continue to investigate all possible motives for the attack.
Meanwhile, Kevin Lau penned two articles for Ming Pao from his hospital bed earlier this week, which revealed the severity of the stabbing and doctors’ prognosis for his full recovery, which could take up to two years.
Find out first! Receive ICIJ's investigations by email