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Journalist Albert Cheng King-hon receives death threats, company offices vandalised

(RSF/IFEX) - RSF has voiced concern over the recent death threats against leading Hong Kong columnist and political critic Albert Cheng King-hon. The organisation called on Chief Executive Tung Chee Hwa, to order a thorough investigation into the threats.

"If threats against journalists who criticise politicians or government measures succeed in silencing critics, editorial independence and free expression are in danger in Hong Kong," RSF said.

Cheng has been receiving death threats on an almost daily basis for the past two months. This follows his criticism of the government's pro-Beijing reforms. On 31 March 2004, the offices of one of his companies was attacked.

As a result of these incidents, Cheng said he may suspend broadcasts of his political programme, "Teacup in a Storm", on the station Commercial Radio, but he plans to continue writing his columns for the daily "South China Morning Post".

In the attack on one of his companies' offices, 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.

"These people know I own shares in this company," Cheng said. "They 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," he added.

Cheng was previously attacked on 19 August 1998, when he received six deep knife wounds from two assailants (see IFEX alerts of 1 September and 20 August 1998). He survived despite losing a great deal of blood before help arrived. No arrests was made.

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