Oz newsman tells of death threats after helping out bloodied actress

Top News | Staff reporter 14 Oct 2019

An Australian reporter who helped pro-Beijing actress Celine Ma Tai-lo during a coverage says he has received death threats.

Robert Ovadia, from 7News Australia, said Hong Kong is "toxic and dangerous right now" as disinformation is being weaponized with so much venom.

Ovadia said he has also been labeled pro-Beijing after escorting Ma to a police station when she was beaten up in Mong Kok on October 6.

"My role in this was little more than a journalist seeking to interview her and I put myself between her and the mob to do it" Ovadia wrote on Facebook.

"I had not anticipated her pleading with me to escort her to the police station, which I felt compelled to do, and I certainly did not anticipate what followed in the coming days."

He said he was labeled pro-China, which led to a torrent of abuse online and death threats.

"My name and picture were circulated among protesters and intelligence sources informed us we were targeted by 'peaceful protesters,' " he said.

"That is not spontaneous violence - it is calculated, premeditated - all because allegiances here are so fanatical, a mere act of kindness could only be viewed through the prism of politics, immediately judged and avenged."

Ovadia said videos are edited out of context to change audience perception of what happened.

He said an edited video by Apple Daily started its sequence with Ma defending herself, making her look like the aggressor.

"I have never seen disinformation weaponized with such venom as my time in Hong Kong."

Ovadia said Ma had no less right to protest than other protesters, but because she was a solitary woman surrounded by an angry mob she was sprayed in the face, punched, shoved to the ground and had a glass bottle smashed over her head.

He questioned accusations of officers beating and raping protesters before they go to court and of undercover police being the ones starting fires, saying there was no evidence to back the claims.

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