On Oct 1, 2019, numerous public activities in local areas turned into clashes between police and citizens. As a result, some reporters were shot by sponge rounds or rubber bullets. Others were pushed to the ground or even held by the neck. Yet others suffered acid attacks. The Journalists Association sends our concern to our injured colleagues and condemn any violence towards our members. We appeal to media organisations to fully equip frontline reporters with protective gear. The Association will provide any assistance needed.
In the process of clearing protesters, many incidents occurred involving police allegedly losing control and attacking reporters. According to Apple Daily, two of their female journalists, while attempting to interview an arrested female protester yesterday afternoon on Nathan Rd near Tin Hai Temple in Yau Ma Tai, was shot at three or four times by Raptors hiding in the bushes. Luckily they ducked in time. However, a photojournalist from Next Magazine was hit twice by rubber bullets. They were not badly hurt.
In addition, according to Stand News, their journalist, while reporting on Haiba Street in Tsuen Wan, was shot in the lower leg, leaving a red circular mark. Another was pushed and shoved by police in Jordan. This reporter had already followed the orders to move back but was still pushed hard. The police even attempted to twist his camera lens and his neck. Yet another colleague was shot in the face by either a rubber bullet or sponge round and was admitted to the hospital for treatment.
A reporter was also pushed to the ground and needed to be helped up. This reporter demanded the police press liaison officer to provide the officer’s serial number but to no avail.
A RTHK spokesperson said that their reporter, whilst reporting in Wong Tai Sin, was ordered to leave by a police officer pointing a gun. Their photographer was hit in the kneecap by a sponge round near Prince Edward MTR Station. He was wearing a reflective vest and no protesters were nearby.
Apart from police being suspected of attacks and countless reporters injured in all areas, a RTHK (English) breaking news reporter was hit in the head by an unidentified object and required hospital treatment. At Tuen Mun City Hall, many journalists and photographers were victims of a corrosive acid attack.
The Association stresses that on-site reporting is the sacred duty of news workers. Anyone who threatens or attacks frontline reporters seriously undermines press freedom and the public’s right to know. The Journalists Association strongly condemns all violence targeted at frontline news workers. We appeal to both the police and protesters to avoid the malicious hindering of our work.
Hong Kong Journalists Association
2 Oct 2019