Hong Kong police arrest activist over abduction claim

Image source, Reuters
Image caption,
Mr Lam (centre, in blue shirt) was arrested early on Tuesday morning

A democracy activist in Hong Kong who claimed he was abducted and tortured by mainland Chinese agents has been arrested by police.

Authorities are accusing Howard Lam of providing misleading information.

Mr Lam claimed last week he was abducted because of his efforts to get in touch with Liu Xia, the widow of Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo.

He had showed reporters what he said was evidence of torture, including staples embedded in his thighs.

The BBC's Hong Kong correspondent Juliana Liu says Mr Lam's revelation shocked the city, and many people demanded an inquiry into what they called a serious potential violation of the city's autonomy.

Mainland agents are not allowed to operate in Hong Kong, which is a semi-autonomous territory responsible for its own law and order.

But now Mr Lam himself is under arrest and his home has been raided for evidence, with officers removing mobile phones, a tablet and other personal items.

Image source, AFP
Image caption,
Mr Lam made his claims in a press conference last Friday

Police say there were inconsistencies in the account Mr Lam gave to them, including his claim that he was pushed into a car by his alleged abductors.

Officials said he left by public transport instead, reported the South China Morning Post.

Independent investigative journalism agency FactWire, which obtained CCTV footage from the area which Mr Lam said he was abducted from, said he appeared to be alone at the time of the alleged incident.

Our correspondent says the Democratic Party, of which Mr Lam is a member, continues to support him, saying there was no reason for him to fabricate what happened to him.

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