Secretary for Food and Health York Chow Yat-ngok yesterday became the first top Hong Kong government official to question official versions of the death of mainland activist Li Wangyang.
Chow, a medical doctor, said there were suspicious circumstances surrounding the death of the blind-and-deaf activist.
"He was seriously disabled," said Chow.
"It is not easy for a seriously disabled person to commit suicide. Judging from the pictures, it does not look like he killed himself."
Li was found dead in a Shaoyang city hospital ward last Wednesday, hanged from a window bar with a strip of cloth. His feet were touching the floor, raising suspicions about mainland authorities' suicide claims.
Shaoyang city authorities have already cremated Li's body, saying it was at the request of Li's family. Li's friends have suggested otherwise.
Chow also said that judging from Li's character, as reflected in a television interview aired a few days before he died, he did not look like a person who would end his own life without leaving a note.
"If he intended to sacrifice himself to do something earth-shaking, he should have left a few words behind."
Chow said he hopes that people with close ties to Beijing, including members of the National People's Congress and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, will reflect the concerns held by many people in Hong Kong to Beijing.
Commenting on Chief Executive- designate Leung Chun-ying's refusal to comment on the incident, Chow said people have to make their own decisions.
Secretary for Security Ambrose Lee Siu-kwong said he shares the same feelings as other Hongkongers that there is a need for the truth to be told.
Meanwhile, more than 10 parties, including the Democratic Party and the Civic Party, have launched a signature campaign to demand Beijing launch an investigation into Li's death.
They have set up booths, calling on people to sign a petition. Residents can also sign on the internet.
Li's friend Yin Zhengan told RTHK he has not been able to contact Li's sister and brother-in-law for many days. Police are patrolling outside the tea house that Yin runs.
He thanked the 25,000 people who took to the streets on Sunday to demand a thorough probe into Li's death. NPC member Cheng Yiu-tong said he has already written to the NPC chairman to demand a probe.