The New York Times’ Austin Ramzy reports that two men have been sentenced to 19 years in prison for their role in the violent February 27, 204 attack on Hong Kong journalist and former Ming Pao chief-editor Kein Lau Chun-to:
The judge in the case, Esther Toh, said on Friday that a lengthy sentence was necessary because of the severity of the violence against Mr. Lau.
“It was a totally senseless and brutal attack,” she said, according to the South China Morning Post. “Members of the press, like everyone else, should be protected by the law without fear in their daily business.”
The attackers, Yip Kim-wah and Wong Chi-wah, were found guilty last week of causing grievous bodily harm with intent in the assault on Mr. Lau. The men said they had been offered 100,000 Hong Kong dollars, or about $12,900, to carry out the attack, but who ordered the attack, or why, was never disclosed.
The two men, both 39, were arrested in Guangdong Province in China and said the police there had beaten them to force them to confess. [Source]
11 were arrested last March for alleged connections to the attack, and Mr. Lau remains in hospital recovery to this day. After the attack, police sources said it resembled a “classic triad hit… designed to send a warning.” The attack followed closely on the heels of mass protests against eroding press freedoms in Hong Kong. In January of 2014, Kevin Lau was abruptly removed from his position as chief-edit of the liberal Hong Kong newspaper Ming Pao, an incident that also triggered protest in Hong Kong and was seen by some as proof of Beijing’s encroachment on the relatively free press in the semi-autonomous region.