A significant amount of citizens gathered in front of the Mongkok Police station in the evening of September 2, where the Police Tactical Unit had tried to disperse and arrested a large number of people. Under the circumstances of no one charging or protesting, the police used pepper spray and tear gas on the journalists at the scene within a close range without any warning. The Special Tactical Contingent even pushed a reporter onto the ground and the said reporter had to be admitted to hospital for treatment. The Hong Kong Journalists Association strongly condemns the Hong Kong Police Force for recklessly assaulting reporters and violating freedom of the press.
There were a lot of journalists reporting at the front door of the Mong Kok Police Station when the incident took place. Some officers suddenly ran pass the reporters on site to arrest a woman. A first aider who tried to help the injured was being dragged away by another team of officers. Reporters therefore instantly turned around and raised their cameras, but many of them were pepper sprayed within a close range for several times. No citizen was charging or protesting at that moment. After a while, the police even shot tear gas twice without giving any warning to the reporters. Many of them were tear gassed as they had no time to move away.
The Special Tactical Contingent arrived later and brutally pushed a number of journalists away and blocked their filming. A photographer of Now TV, who did not show any gesture of charging, was pushed to the ground by the Special Tactical Contingent. His left hand was injured and was sent to the hospital after being attended by first aiders.
Since the outbreak of a series of protests starting from June, numerous police officers have lost control over their own emotions and used force against journalists. The police not only
obstructed the journalists from reporting; they have also used strong flashlight on cameras, dispersed reporters without providing any reasons, verbally insulted, encircled, and even used force on reporters now. We have issued a number of statements requesting the Hong Kong Police Force to restrain themselves from using hostile means on reporters, but no improvements can be observed so far and the situation is only getting worse. We now, once again, lodge serious representations to Chief Secretary Mr. Matthew Cheung Kin-chung and Commissioner of Police Mr. Stephen Lo Wai-chung. We also urge the government and the Hong Kong Police Force to address the abuse of power and force of police officers to prevent the situation from worsening.
Hong Kong Journalists Association
3 September 2019