Online group speaks out to counter pro-police meetings

Top News | Cindy Wan 7 Aug 2019

About 100 web users organized "a citizens' press conference" to slam the government for "flooding the public with pro-police information" by holding media meetings every day.

Three masked spokespersons met journalists yesterday to accuse the authorities of only sharing information that favors the government.

In response, a group of Hongkongers "initiated a citizens' press conference to bring people's unheard voices to the public and highlight the repeated condemnation and empty reference presented by the government," said an 18-year-old spokesman, who only identified himself as Chan.

He said half of the 100 people in the group are from different sectors, including some frontline demonstrators, residents affected by tear gas, volunteers who transported supplies and scholars.

The web users gathered on online platform Lihkg and issued a statement condemning officials through the encrypted messaging application Telegram.

Chan said the group does not represent anyone, but acts as a counterweight against the government's "monopoly on political discourse." He reiterated the five major demands and criticized Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor for lashing out at protesters.

He also rebutted Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po's remarks that the protests have caused "severe economic consequences."

He added: "While a minority of shops in the affected areas closed early, the impact was negligible in comparison to the size of Hong Kong's economy."

Chan also criticized police for turning a blind eye to officers abusing their power, citing a female protester who had her dress ripped off by officers when she was arrested on Monday.

Quoting the officers' declaration of office, he said the force should serve "without fear of or favor to any person and with malice or ill will toward none." The three spokesmen were asked about the remarks by Lam and Beijing officials, who said the civil movement has turned into riots that have challenged the country's sovereignty as protesters chanted an independence slogan - "Reclaim Hong Kong, revolution of our time!"

In response, the only female spokesperson, a 30-year-old only identified as Tsang, sidestepped the question and said it was suggested by localist Edward Leung Tin-kei a few years ago, when he ran for the Legislative Council's New Territories East constituency by-election in 2016.

Tsang said the web users are planning to hold another citizens' press conference and there will be a session for the public to answer reporters' questions.

cindymt.wan@singtaonewscorp.com

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