Howard Lam denies making bogus torture claimsLocal | 13 Mar 2018 5:50 pm
The Democratic Party member who grabbed international headlines last year with claims that he was kidnapped and tortured by mainland agents pleaded not guilty today in Kowloon City court to making a fake police report.
Last August, Howard Lam summoned the media to announce that he had been grabbed off the streets in Mong Kok, shoved into a van by Putonghua-speaking people, taken away and beaten, then had multiple staples punched in cross-shapes into both of his thighs to mock his religion before he woke up on a beach in Sai Kung the next morning, RTHK reports.
Skeptics quickly accused him of making the whole thing up, and police who were investigating the case ended up arresting him for allegedly misleading them.
Prosecutors later amended the charge to knowingly making a false police report. Lam turned up to the hearing today flanked by several prominent party-mates including former legislator Albert Ho, and former vice-chairman Richard Tsoi.
In court, when asked to enter a plea, Lam said, in Cantonese, "I am innocent…” and "I am definitely pleading not guilty” before principal magistrate Woo Heuy-fang instructed him to stop talking after having made his plea.
A pre-trial review was set for June 15, after Lam's lawyer asked for time to find expert witnesses to counter those from the prosecution.
Prosecutors are planning to present as evidence CCTV footage of the streets in Mong Kok, and say they have 170 witnesses ready to back up their case. However, they say how many of them will actually be called to testify will depend on whether the defence challenges the evidence.
The magistrate said she wouldn't allow the lawyers to call so many witnesses, saying the court doesn't have the time or manpower to deal with such a heavy workload.-Photo: RTHK