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A Hong Kong legislator is under arrest for 'faking a kidnapping' by Chinese agents

HONG KONG - Police in Hong Kong arrested an opposition party member early Tuesday after CCTV footage allegedly contradicted his claim that he had been kidnapped and tortured by agents from mainland China.

Howard Lam Tsz-kin, a member of the Democratic Party, was arrested at his home, police said in a statement. "The victim provided false information to mislead the police officers," it said.

Lam claimed he had been snatched from a busy shopping street by alleged mainland agents on Friday, forced into a van, beaten and tortured. He woke up on a beach hours later, he said.

He said he had been targeted because he attempted to send a signed postcard of Lionel Messi to Liu Xia, wife of the late Nobel laureate and high profile Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo.

Lam's claim was the latest in a series of allegations that Chinese agents have been operating illegally in the city in recent years, spooking residents and further undermining trust between locals in the former British colony and Beijing.

However, Lam's claims were contradicted by CCTV footage and witness statements obtained by police, as well as an independent investigation by Hong Kong news agency Factwire.

The Factwire report showed CCTV footage of Lam walking to another part of Hong Kong unscathed around an hour after he said he had been snatched.

The footage showed a figure matching Lam's appearance and gait putting on a cap, surgical mask and sunglasses as he walked unaccosted.

Lam told Factwire the man was not him and suggested it could be a body double.

Should he be convicted of making a false report, Lam faces a fine of HK$1,000 (US$130) and up to six months in prison.

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