Reporters Without Borders is appalled to learn that Kevin Lau, a journalist who was fired a month ago as editor of the Hong Kong-based daily Ming Pao, was badly injured in a stabbing attack yesterday.
"This clearly premeditated attack must not go unpunished," said Benjamin Ismaïl, the head of the Reporters Without Borders Asia-Pacific desk. "The attack highlights the overall decline in freedom of information in Hong Kong, which includes a decline in the safety of journalists."
The attack took place in broad daylight in Chai Wan, the district where Ming Pao is located. Lau was getting out of his car when a man riding pillion on a motorcycle dismounted, stabbed him several times in the back and leg, and then fled with his accomplice on the motorcycle.
Lau was rushed to a hospital in a critical condition and underwent an operation. Doctors later said his life was no longer in danger.
Ming Pao announced on 7 January that Lau was to be replaced as editor by Chong Tien Siong, a Malaysian journalist who used to edit the Nanyang Siang Pau. Lau's removal, blamed on the newspaper's criticism of the Chinese government in Beijing, prompted an outcry in the media community.
Yesterday's stabbing echoes the June 2013 attacks on Apple Daily employees and Chen Ping, the publisher of the outspoken magazine iSun Affairs.
Hong Kong is ranked 61st out of 180 countries in the 2014 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index, a fall of three places from its position in the 2013 index.<br/>