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Last Updated: Thursday, 13 May, 2004, 17:52 GMT 18:52 UK
HK radio hosts bow to pressure
Radio microphones
Both radio hosts have complained of threats and pressure
One of Hong Kong's top broadcasters and an outspoken critic of the Beijing authorities has temporarily quit his radio show.

Raymond Wong said in a statement that he was tired and needed to rest.

His announcement came just days after another leading radio DJ, Albert Cheng, left Hong Kong, saying that he had received death threats.

Observers are worried their departures could indicate a deterioration in media freedom in the territory.

Mr Wong did not give political reasons for why he had decided to leave his talk radio show and the city.

"I am tired physically and mentally. I need a rest. I am sorry, but I can't talk on the air for a period of time," he said in a statement read to listeners by his co-host late on Thursday night .

His employers at Commercial Radio Station have not made comment.

Physical threat

But in an interview with Next Magazine, published on Thursday, Mr Wong said that he had been under pressure from pro-Beijing businessmen to stop being critical of the Chinese government.

He said that they had used coercion and offers of bribery to try to silence him.

In the interview he said that if his own safety or that of his family were compromised he would not hesitate to stop broadcasting.

Recently, Mr Wong was assaulted and his restaurant has been vandalised.

Mr Cheng also had his office vandalised shortly before he made the decision to take a break from his talk show.

As he left Hong Kong Mr Cheng, another leading pro-democracy advocate, said political pressure had made him feel suffocated and unable to speak freely.

Mr Cheng was seriously injured in a knife attack in 1998 and in a letter to the South China Morning Post last week he said he simply could not risk another attack.

"I am not afraid of people in power, but I shudder at the threat of violence. It is only human and natural for me to be deeply disturbed by death threats," he wrote.

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