Hong Kong activist says Chinese tortured him for Messi photo

HONG KONG — Hong Kong's main pro-democracy party says one of its members was briefly abducted and tortured by suspected mainland Chinese security agents because he planned to send a signed photo of soccer star Lionel Messi to a dissident's widow.

The party member, Howard Lam, told reporters Friday unidentified men grabbed him on the street, forced him into a car, and made him smell something that caused him to lose consciousness.

When he awoke, he was tied up, blindfolded and hit. His Mandarin-speaking captors interrogated him about the photo and Liu Xia, the widow of imprisoned Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo.

Before he died last month of cancer while in custody, Xiaobo wrote to FC Barcelona to ask for a signed photo because he thought it would cheer him up.

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