Carrie Lam tells media, cops to talk things overLocal | 12 May 2020 11:09 am
The Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor says she hopes Hong Kong's police and the media will be able to hold a frank and candid exchange to address the "unpleasant situations" that are arising on the city's streets, RTHK reports.
Before heading into today's Executive Council meeting, Lam was asked how the authorities can insist that they respect freedom of the press in light of the force's treatment of journalists covering a protest in Mong Kok on Sunday night.
Riot police shoved and pushed reporters, pepper-sprayed them and then prevented them from cleaning their eyes, and forced some to kneel down on the ground and switch off their cameras.
In response, Lam said she has been repeatedly asked questions over the past year about police treatment of the media and her answer is that both sides must respect each other. She reiterated that the police and the government do respect freedom of the press.
But she said it is difficult to comment on specific situations taking place at protests "that may turn into riots".
Lam said police had reached out to various media organizations on Monday with the aim of stepping up communication and coming up with some constructive proposals.
She said Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung would also attend a meeting with police and media representatives.
Lam said she hoped the meeting would address the issue of voluntary and student reporters covering unrest on the streets, asking why anyone would think it was a good idea for children to be at protest scenes.
On Sunday, police had taken a 12-year-old boy to a police station after they found him livestreaming trouble in the Harbour City mall in Tsim Sha Tsui for an online student media outlet.
Lam again said such protests can morph into "riots" and children cannot handle such complicated and ever changing scenes.
She was also asked about complaints by people that they have been given HK$2,000 penalty tickets by the police for allegedly breaching a law banning gatherings of more than eight people, even when they have been out on their own or in small family groups.
A Cable News reporter asked Lam whether police don't understand the pandemic-law or whether they are abusing their power.
She replied that anyone who believes the enforcement agencies have deviated from the requirements of the law would be welcome to make a complaint.