TVB goes to police over boycott threats

Top News | Carine Chow and Erin Chan 20 Oct 2021

TVB filed a report with police yesterday that some netizens intend to incite others to boycott the broadcaster, its advertisers and artists online.

It said the company, its clients and artists have faced "harassment, molestation, pestering, threats or intimidation" from cyberbullying, which may cause psychological and property damage to them.

Television Broadcasts Limited said it has noted netizens attempting to incite others to boycott TVB, its artists and advertisers by harassment, threat or intimidation.

"This cyberbullying behavior may cause psychological or property damage to these parties and subsequently lead to social unsettling."

TVB reported to the Wan Chai police station yesterday and the case will be followed by the Cyber Security and Technology Crime Bureau, it said.

"As one of the largest broadcasters in Hong Kong, TVB reaffirms our responsibilities in maintaining social stability and harmony and ensuring public safety with law enforcement agencies and the general public," it said.

"In this regard, TVB gives zero tolerance to any cyberbullying behavior against corporates."

The broadcaster's representatives, Bonnie Wong Tak-wei and Michael Kwan Yuk-kwan, along with lawmaker and solicitor Paul Tse Wai-chun, made the report.

Even though Hong Kong passed the Personal Data Ordinance which had made doxxing a criminal offense, Tse said there is still room for improvement in the protection of business organizations.

Kwan dismissed suggestions that a particular cyberbullying incident had triggered the station's action.

When asked about the number of advertisements reduced so far, Kwan said he did not have the number, but the harassment happens every day "in the thousands or even tens of thousands."

He estimated that hundreds of artists and advertisers are affected.

One of the incidents is believed to be Hubert Wu Hung-kwan's concert, which will be organized at Kowloon Bay International Trade and Exhibition Centre on November 26 and 27. Advertisements for the concert ran on TVB.

It is understood that netizens left threatening comments that call upon the public to boycott the concert, its sponsors and the station.

Wu told media that he felt grateful whether others like him or not. "This means there is at least some attention. As a singer and an artist, my focus is on music and dramas. The concert for me is like a milestone," he said.

Two men have been arrested in connection with calling on netizens on social media to boycott the broadcaster on July 28.

The two, aged 18 and 26, who are administrators of a Facebook group named "The frontline of boycotting the heartless TVB," were rounded up in Sham Shui Po and Ma On Shan.

They are suspected of conspiracy to commit criminal intimidation, incitement to commit wounding with intent, inciting illegal assembly and inciting others to inflict grievous bodily harm.

The 18-year-old has been released unconditionally.

The 26-year-old has been released on bail pending investigation. He should report back to the police in early December.

Superintendent Wilson Tam Wai-shun, of the Cyber Security and Technology Crime Bureau, said since May last year the Facebook group had made more than 2,000 posts targeting the broadcaster's artists and over 100 advertising partners.

"The posts cover indiscriminate and unreasonable attacks against the media's artists and advertising partners, threatening them with reputation and material damage," he said.

He also said the two had posted messages inciting others to attend illegal assemblies and commit violence against media employees, constables and their families on other social media sites earlier.



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