TVB man held on sabotage claims

Local | Amy Nip 16 Sep 2020

A Television Broadcasts post-production staff member has been arrested for inciting people online to sabotage his employer's events and advertisers.

Police cyber security and technology crime bureau officers escorted the 25-year-old man back to TVB City for investigation yesterday after his arrest at 7am.

Chief inspector Fan Chun-yip said the suspect allegedly made multiple posts on an online discussion forum, inciting people to damage TVB and MTR facilities. He is arrested for inciting others to cause a public nuisance.

He also incited people to harass the TV station's advertisers so that they won't place ads again, Fan said.

A screencap provided by the police indicated that the man posted a message in a discussion forum about some MTR stations having to close down due to damaged facilities on October 7.

"We have to renovate them again today," a user named "corrupt cops should see their whole family die" posted.

He also allegedly posted details of several dozen TVB functions, encouraging people to disrupt the events.

In one post, he mentioned a mid-autumn festival program at Sha Tin Town Hall plaza which was supposed to be attended by TVB artistes last September 13.

He put down the time, location and attending artists - understood to include Anderson Junior and Stephanie Ho Ngan-si, and explained why and how people should disrupt it.

"If more than 100 people joined, the action would be a success. On the night people should not bring eggs to the scene," he wrote.

In the end the government canceled the event due to public safety concerns.

"We believe he made use of the access that his job provided to get details of events and artistes' schedules," Fan said.

Police also seized his phone and laptop. Apart from the incitement offense, Fan warned he could be prosecuted for contempt for breaching an October court injunction.

The injunction bans online comments that incite violence likely to cause injury to person or property, covering both internet forums and instant messaging apps like Telegram.

A TVB spokesman said the staff member arrested is a film traffic assistant.

The police investigation at TVB City concerned only that person and was in no way a search of a media organization, he said.

"Since the beginning of last year's social unrest, there was a surge of online crimes inciting violence, including incitement of others to obstruct TVB news reporting, intimidate TVB advertisers, sabotage TVB events and harass TVB artistes. The company reported to the police on numerous occasions," he said.

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