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Motive Unclear in Murder of Journalist, Though Politics Not Ruled Out

January 20, 1992

HONG KONG (AP) _ Investigators have not ruled out a political motive in the slaying of a prominent anti-Communist journalist found bludgeoned to death in the stairwell of his apartment building, police said today.

Police Officer Mok Chan-hung added that investigators also were looking into other possible reasons for the killing of Chan Kang-nan, 45, a former Communist Chinese Red Guard who became a right-wing columnist.

Chan wrote truculent attacks on Beijing’s Communist government and Taiwan’s pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party. His last published essay, which came out Sunday, discussed ″Communist China’s concessions″ in the U.S.-China trade agreement reached on Thursday.

An autopsy performed today showed that Chan died from head injuries after being beaten with an iron pipe Saturday evening. Neighbors reported seeing two men in blood-stained clothes running from the Chan’s apartment complex shortly before his body was discovered.

Mok said robbery was an unlikely motive, since cash and checks totaling $780 were found in Chan’s pockets. A mobile phone valued at more than $1,000 also was found near the body.

The officer said possible motives being studied included a romantic dispute, financial problems or even underworld involvement.

Huang Yu-min, a professor of journalism at Chu Hai College and a close friend of Chan, a bachelor, said he doubted money was involved.

″He didn’t gamble and he didn’t have the burden of supporting a family,″ Huang said.

Chan was the first political activist slain since 1967 in a city more noted recently for wild jewelry heists, hotel robberies and underworld racketeering.

Born in southern China’s Guangdong province, Chan was a member of Mao Tse- tung’s feared Red Guards during China’s 1966-76 Cultural Revolution. In 1972, he became disillusioned and fled across the border to Hong Kong.

In his newspaper columns and radio commentaries, Chan often criticized the policies and leadership of Beijing’s Communist regime.

In recent months, he had become increasingly active in political circles, chairing the Hong Kong branch of the Chinese Alliance for Opposing Taiwan’s Independence.

The Nationalists fled to Taiwan in 1949 after losing a civil war on China’s mainland to Communist forces. Chan said that any move toward Taiwan independence would wreck dreams of a reunified China.

Chan usually wrote under the name Yip Chi-chau, which is derived from a Chinese poem about the falling of a leaf signifying the coming of autumn.

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