On May 11, the newspaper revealed that journalist Sarah Liang was attacked by a man with a bat for about one minute shortly after she walked out of her apartment building in the morning. Liang suffered several injuries but managed to take down the plate number of a car that drove the attacker away, the newspaper said.
“I was beaten on the legs about 10 times. He only targeted my legs in the attack,”Liang told local media. The Epoch Times said Liang had been a target of harassment since late April, including being stalked by a man.
In an email to the IFJ on May 11, Hong Kong police said an investigation was launched after the attack on the 48-year-old woman, but no arrest had yet been made.
The New-York-based newspaper is associated with the Falun Gong spiritual group and is banned in China. Liang currently also serves as the president of the Hong Kong Falun Buddhist Association, and recently protested outside the office of pro-Beijing newspaper Ta Kung Pao against its reporting on The Epoch Times and members of the Falun Gong, according to the newspaper.
The assault came less than one month after The Epoch Time’s printing plant was vandalized by four men, forcing the news outlet to halt printing for several days.
June Guo, director of the Hong Kong edition of The Epoch Times, said he strongly condemned the assault on Liang, and that the “goal with this attack, as well as the others, is to force The Epoch Times to abandon its business in Hong Kong.”
Guo called for support from the international community to help ensure the safety of all reporters working in Hong Kong.
The HKJA said: “Press freedom is a core value of Hong Kong’s success, and we will never tolerate any threats of violence against the media and journalists.”
The IFJ said: “Journalists and media organisations should be able to operate regardless of their political differences without fear for intimidation or violence. The IFJ is deeply disturbed by the recent attacks targeting The Epoch Times and urges the Hong Kong authorities to investigate these cases to bring the perpetrators to justice."