HONGKONG  3/4/2004

Death threats against Albert Cheng King-hon

One of his companies¹ offices vandalised

Reporters Without Borders today voiced concern about death threats against leading Hong Kong columnist and political critic Albert Cheng King-hon and called on the special region¹s chief executive, Tung Chee Hwa, to order a thorough investigation.

³If threats against journalists who criticise politicians or government measures succeed in silencing the critics, then editorial independence and free expression are in danger in Hong Kong,² the organisation said.

Cheng has been receiving threats almost every day for the past two months because of his criticism of the government¹s pro-Beijing reforms. Then the premises of one of his companies was attacked on 31 March.

Cheng is thinking of suspending his political programme ³Teacup in a Storm² on the Commercial Radio station but he would continue to be a columnist for the daily South China Morning Post.

In the attack on one of his companies, intruders demanded to speak to Cheng. Although he was absent, they went to his office and threw buckets of red paint on the walls, furniture and other objects in the room.

³These people knew I own shares in this company,² Cheng said. ³They were prepared. I can tell you that I am afraid. My family is even more afraid. It is not the first time that this has happened.²

Cheng was already attacked on 19 August 1998, when he received six deep knife wounds from two assailants. He survived despite losing a lot of blood before help arrived. No arrest was made.