Unknown attackers chopped off two fingers from the right hand of a journalist who writes for one of China's most outspoken and progressive newspapers, as apparent retaliation for his articles detailing organized crime activities in the southern part of the country.

Thirty-year-old Wen Chong, a reporter for the Guangdong-based Nanfang Dushi Bao (Southern Metropolitan News), was attacked inside his home late Thursday. Officials say his index and middle fingers were cut off to prevent him from holding a pen properly, perhaps as an intentional warning from his assailants.

Journalism advocacy groups say attacks and government pressure on journalists who report about crime and corruption in China have become increasingly more common.

The former chief editor of the Nanfang Dushi Bao was terminated and imprisoned for five months after controversial articles detailed the SARS virus and the beating of a migrant worker two years ago.

Some information for this report provided by AP, Reuters and AFP.