Friday, 1 August 2014

Kevin Lau Back to Work

Kevin Lau Chun-to talks to reporters on his first day back at work in Chai Wan
Warm cheers for former Ming Pao chief editor Kevin Lau Chun-to who returned to work today, almost six months after the brutal chopper attack on his back and legs that led to fears about press freedom in Hong Kong.

Reporters said he looked tired and used a cane to walk, but Lau urged his fellow journalists to show courage.

"I still haven't full recovered from the wounds and I will be receiving physiotherapy every morning and coming in for half days of work in the following months," he said.

The veteran journalist was attacked on the morning of February 26 in Sai Wan Ho by a man with a meat cleaver, deeply wounding his back and legs, and the assailant escaped on motorcycle driven by another man.

Lau was rushed to hospital where he was fighting for his life and had serious nerve damage to his leg which doctors say will take two years to recover.

On Friday two men charged with assault appeared in Eastern Court, and then the case was handed over to the Court of First Instance.

Yip Kim-wah and Wong Chi-wan both face charges of unlawful and malicious wounding with intent to do grievous bodily harm, which carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment, as well as theft charges.

They have yet to enter a plea.

Lau spoke in a defiant tone to reporters, saying the attack would not affect his approach to his work.

"We have to be cautiously optimistic about any developments in the present political situation. But journalists should not yield to any pressure and must be courageous, especially at times of political instability," he said.

He stressed he would "stand his ground" and continue "to stick to the core principles of journalism".

The attack occurred after he was removed from his position at chief editor by Ming Pao management in February and Lau was transferred to Ming Pao Group's electronic books and teaching materials division.

He does believe the attack was related to his journalism, and in March, thousands of people, including myself marched the streets calling for press freedom.

It's wonderful to finally see Lau up and about, albeit still recovering. When he was transferred, many saw this move very much like something that would happen on the mainland.

People were annoyed that this was happening in Hong Kong. But when the horrific attack happened, everyone was so shocked because Lau is hardly a radical, making it seem even more strange why he was the target.

Nevertheless, he knows everyone is watching, which is why he hopes the determination in his voice will not only demonstrate his confidence, but also inspire others, particularly in the journalism field, to continue guarding press freedom in the city.

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