A reporter for the Hong Kong edition of The Epoch Times was assaulted on May 11 by an unidentified man wielding an aluminum softball bat, in an attack believed to be orchestrated by the Chinese regime in its latest attempt to silence reporting by the publication.
Sarah Liang was outside her residential building when the midday attack took place. The assailant hit her with the bat more than 10 times before fleeing in a car, leaving Liang with bruises on both of her legs.
The incident is the latest in a string of attacks on Epoch Times facilities and reporters in Hong Kong—all suspected of being organized by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) as part of its campaign to thwart the outlet’s reporting in the city. The publication, one of the few independent outlets in Hong Kong, is known for reporting on corruption, political infighting, and human rights abuses committed by the communist regime.
Liang was transported in an ambulance to Queen Elizabeth Hospital for treatment, and around 3 p.m. local time, police arrived to get her account of the attack. As of 6:30 p.m., she was still in the hospital.
A witness with the surname Li said he was coming out of a nearby restaurant when he heard a woman screaming, “Help me, I am being beaten.”
Li said he then saw a large man in his 40s carrying a bat jump into a car and flee. According to Li, the assailant's getaway vehicle was a black Mercedes-Benz with the license plate number “TV3851.”
He suggested that whoever was behind the attack wanted to send a warning to The Epoch Times and prevent the outlet from carrying out its reporting. He slammed the attack as brutal and inhumane, adding that he would be willing to testify against the attacker.
Speaking to local media outside the hospital at around 2 p.m. local time, Liang said she believed the attack was premeditated because another man suddenly charged toward her on May 8 at the same location where she was assaulted on May 11. In the earlier incident, the man eventually walked away after realizing that the bat hidden beneath his clothes had fallen to the ground while he was running.
She urged Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam to pay attention to her case as public safety in the city seems to be deteriorating.
The CCP’s goal with this attack, as well as the others, is to force The Epoch Times to abandon its business in Hong Kong, Guo said.
The safety of staff at the outlet’s printing plant has been another concern. Guo added that there have been unidentified vehicles and people spotted near the facility recently.
Officials of the Chinese edition of The Epoch Times urged Hong Kong Police to carry out their duty to investigate all unresolved cases involving the Hong Kong bureau.
“We call on the general public in Hong Kong to continue to support The Epoch Times,” a statement from the outlet reads. “The Epoch Times will not back down and it will continue to provide truthful coverage and safeguard Hong Kong.”
They also requested the help of the international community to “prevent the CCP's escalating violence against Hong Kong media."
The former British colony, once celebrated for its civil liberties, has seen a drastic deterioration of press and other freedoms as the Chinese regime has tightened its grip over the city. In particular, Beijing’s imposition of a draconian national security law and other measures in the past year have led observers to say that Hong Kong will soon be just another mainland Chinese city—an outcome in direct violation of Beijing’s pledge under an international treaty to preserve the city’s freedoms and autonomy until 2047.
“Freedom of the press is a core value that makes Hong Kong a success. We will never tolerate any violent threats against the media or journalists,” HKJA added.