Kidnap story ends in jail

Top News | Cissy So 3 Apr 2020

Democratic Party member Howard Lam Tsz-kin was hauled off to prison after losing an appeal against making a false claim about being abducted.

He was sentenced to five months behind bars in March last year and had been on bail pending his appeal to the High Court. And the ruling went against him yesterday when he appeared before Justice Alex Lee Wan-tang.

Lam, 45, had been convicted at West Kowloon Magistrates' Courts of one count of knowingly making a false report to police about being kidnapped in August 2017.

He made the abduction claim at a press conference when he was accompanied by top Democratic Party leaders, including elder Martin Lee Chu-ming.

He claimed to have been grabbed on a Mong Kong street in broad daylight by a group of putonghua-speaking men, bundled into a van and rendered unconscious with some kind of anesthetic.

He also claimed the kidnappers had stripped him half-naked, beat and harangued him, driven 21 staples into his thighs and then eventually dumped him on a beach in Sai Kung.

Justice Lee noted in delivering the judgment that prosecution witnesses had watched 1,800 hours of closed-circuit camera footage that took in gait and posture while walking, outfits, body size and the route before coming to the conclusion that a masked man in the footage was Lam.

He also believed it was reasonable for the chief magistrate to have reached that conclusion.

The CCTV footage did not show Lam being kidnapped but him appearing in Mong Kok and then a masked man taking a minibus from Mong Kok to Sai Kung.

Lee also said that the chief magistrate was certain the masked man was in fact Lam based on the places covered and people seen in the footage, the evidence from police and testimonies of 15 witnesses.

Lam said in his appeal that the magistrate did not rely on the witness testimony but had instead compared the evidence in the video.

Before Lam appeared in court he claimed that he had not lied and the abduction really did happen.

And as a Christian, Lam said, he would be fasting and praying for 40 days and follow the lead of God in his bid for justice.

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