Hong Kong Journalists Association and Hong Kong Press Photographers Association have repeatedly called on the police to stop the use of force and unreasonably obstructing reporting, but the situation has not improved. During police-civilian clashes in Mong Kok last night (15/12), multiple journalists were unreasonably driven away by riot police. Some of them were pepper-sprayed on the face and beaten with truncheons. They were arrested afterwards. A student reporter was shot with tear gas in the left cheekbones. The two associations express extreme anger at the police actions, severely condemn frontline police officers for their obstruction, interference or violence against journalists, and once again urges the police to face up to it as soon as possible.
The two unions received reports that a large number of journalists were driven away when officers dispersed crowds at the junction of Shantung Street and Portland Street at 11 pm last night. A photojournalist from Mad Dog Daily was pepper-sprayed in the face and beaten with baton by several riot police officers. The editorial office of Mad Dog Daily said in a statement that the reporter was subsequently arrested and brought back to the police station, they expressed the strongest condemnation over such an irrational and barbaric act. Also, a reporter from the editorial board of the Student Union of the Hong Kong Baptist University was shot in the right cheekbone with tear gas on Portland Street in Mong Kok last night, and was sent to the hospital after being treated by a medical emergency responder.
Furthermore, a National Broadcasting Company (NBC) female reporter was surrounded and accused by several participants of a rally in Tamar Park yesterday. Someone waved the Chinese flag to block the camera and interfere with the shooting. They pushed the reporter down, and even threatened to take pictures of her.
The two unions strongly condemn any acts of containment, abuse, or assault on journalists, which has seriously damaged the freedom of the press. HKJA reiterates that frontline journalists are committed to fulfilling their fourth-rights duties and must not be violated.
Hong Kong Journalists Association
Hong Kong Press Photographers Association
16 December 2019