Dozens of people sang and yelled slogans in a shopping mall in Central at noon today (8/5), A HKBU editorial board reporter was arrested during the reporting. Many journalists were sprayed with pepper spray when shooting the situation. HKJA concerns this incident and condemns the police for unreasonable obstruction to reporting.
According to media reports, the reporter of the Hong Kong Baptist University Students’ Union Editorial Board was taken by the police to the front of the smoke-proof gate to be searched. According to the editorial board’s social networking page, a sergeant accused the reporter “影得鬼鬼崇崇”( very sneaky when shooting), then took him to the smoke gate to investigate. Seen from the TV news clips, about ten police officers surrounded the reporter. During the dispute between the police and the reporter, a police attacked the reporter’s head. Afterwards, the reporter was bleeding in the face.
At that time, many reporters went to the other side, hoping to film the situation inside the door. The police sprayed the reporters with pepper spray, which prevented them from filming the use of force by the police. The reporter involved was eventually handcuffed and arrested for misconduct in a public place.
HKJA emphasizes that journalists have the right to gather news in public places. If the police are dissatisfied with the way they are filmed, they can express or complain to the relevant parties. The police should also call the media liaison team to help settle the dispute, rather than use force to “solve” the problem. During the incident, many reporters only shot normally, but the police abused pepper spray to drive them away, which obviously suppressed the freedom of the press. HKJA urges the police to explain the incident clearly and stop interfering with the reporter’s work.
Hong Kong Journalists Association
8 May 2020