Cops accused of brutality to press

Top News | Phoenix Un 9 Jul 2019

Police assaulted media personnel and prevented them from covering Sunday's protest activities according to a statement by the Hong Kong Journalists Association and the Hong Kong Press Photographers Association.

It is not the first time officers have been accused of brutality against the media since the June 9 mega protest against amending the fugitive bill, and the two groups linked again in condemning police.

The statement said officers shoved reporters and photographers with shields during the action against activists in Nathan Road on Sunday night and early yesterday morning.

The officers also shouted at media people and attacked them physically, according to the joint statement.

Three examples were cited of media personnel coming off badly from police action despite wearing press badges and bright vests with "Press" on them.

A photojournalist for online portal HK01 was elbowed in the stomach in Tsim Sha Tsui by a plainclothes policewoman when filming a conflict involving a tourist, the statement said.

An Apple Daily female photojournalist was pushed by a policeman whose warrant card and number were covered, and the officer in turn blamed the photojournalist for pushing police.

And a Metro Broadcast reporter was blocked by police when filming, being told by one officer: "Reporters have no privileges, and you should retreat as told."

Other incidents included officers charging in Mong Kok despite the fact only reporters were in front of them and a protester being taken away by police when asked by media about an injury.

The two associations urged the force to address the problems of enforcement as police have pushed and insulted reporters in several recent protests.

The chairman of the HKJA, Chris Yeung Kin-hing, said on an RTHK program that he did not understand why police charged at reporters in Mong Kok.

"The whole incident was completely unnecessary," he said.

Yeung said he hoped to discuss this with representatives of the force and was trying to arrange a meeting. He said police increasingly showed hatred to reporters and he feared that media work would become increasingly difficult.

Separately, Ming Pao claimed that a policeman swung his baton at one of its reporters, who was wearing a bright vest that carried the word "Press" while he was taking photographs at "a suitable distance" in front of a police line. The officer also blocked the reporter's camera with his shield, it added.

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