RTHK journalist Bao Choy is set to receive a verdict at West Kowloon Magistrates' Courts today for allegedly violating the Road Traffic Ordinance in seeking to obtain vehicle licence plate information for producing a documentary.
The documentary - “Hong Kong Connection: 7.21 Who Owns the Truth” - covered the Yuen Long mob attack in July 2019, where Choy examined the city’s CCTV footage and conducted searches on the city’s vehicle registration database in an attempt to uncover the details of the Yuen Long attack.
Choy pleaded not guilty to making two false claims when searching online for vehicle licence plate information related to potential suspects connected to the 2019 attacks. If convicted, she could face up to six months in jail and a HK$5,000 fine.
Members of the RTHK Programme Staff Union were seen rallying outside the court in support of the producer, holding up signs that read “Journalism is not a crime.”
Yesterday, the Hong Kong Journalists Association announced that the documentary Choy produced has won the Kam Yiu-yu Press Freedom Award.
The documentary about the Yuen Long attack was aired on July 13, 2020 and received 1.5 million views on YouTube.
The awards ceremony would be held online on May 15, but RTHK said that they would not accept the award.
“During the transition period, RTHK decided not to nominate programs for awards, would also withdraw their entries from those competitions, and would not accept related awards,” said RTHK Head of Corporate Communications & Standards Echo Wai.
On July 21, 2019, over 100 rod-wielding men stormed Yuen Long MTR station leaving 45 people injured – including journalists, protesters, commuters and pro-democracy lawmaker Lam Cheuk-ting.
Police were criticized for responding slowly to the incident, with some officers seen leaving the scene or interacting with the white-clad men. The official account of the incident evolved over a year, with the authorities eventually claiming it was a “gang fight.”