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Hong Kong 8 November 2005

Two newspaper employees hurt by parcel bomb explosion

Condemning the parcel bomb explosion that yesterday injured two employees of the Hong Kong-based newspaper Ming Pao, Reporters Without Borders today urged the authorities not to rule out any possible motives in their investigation.

The parcel bomb, addressed to the Chinese-language daily’s editor, Cheung Kin-Bor, is the first of its kind in Hong Kong.

“It is very worrying that such methods worthy of crime organisations or terrorist groups are now being used against the Hong Kong press,” Reporters Without Borders said. “It is up to the government to restore confidence by arresting those responsible, while the press must protest against this attempt to intimidate it.”

Gift-wrapped and accompanied by flowers, the package contained a battery and a few grammes of explosive. It went off at 2 p.m. yesterday when opened by a secretary, Cheung Kin-Bor, 45, who sustained facial injuries. She is hospitalised and in a stable condition. Another employee suffered smoke inhalation.

An anonymous letter inside the package referred to the “good news” published by the newspaper in mid-October and demanded the transfer of 3 million euros to the bank account of a Hong Kong charity. It also asked the newspaper to post a receipt on its website within three days to show it had made the transfer.

“Do not ignore this, it is not a joke,” the letter said. “And unworthy as you are, you should not forget that you are responsible for the safety of your staff (...) The next time, the punishment will be harsher.”

Cheung said he did not know why Ming Pao was the target of this kind of blackmail. He said he stood by his newspaper and stressed his commitment to press freedom.

The Hong Kong government has condemned the attack. Chief executive Donald Tsang has undertaken to ensure that those responsible are arrested.

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