On Sunday night (15 September) during police clearance operations on Hong Kong Island, a number of men attacked the public with offensive weapons. Among those attacked were journalists reporting from the scene. Many of these journalists suffered broken camera lenses from direct blows. One TV crew was being sprayed with rice wine. Journalists were also weakened by weapons and were even beaten with fists. The police officers at the scene did not arrest anyone who had attacked journalists, and even assisted in blocking the journalists’ camera lenses. The Hong Kong Journalists Association strongly condemns this and stresses that in recent days, violent individuals and gangs have maliciously targeted and intimidated journalists, thereby seriously damaging freedom of the press. The police were have not been fairly enforcing the law and have further worsened reporters’ working environment.
After 8 o’clock Sunday night, demonstrators had retreated to North Point and Fortress Hill when a number of middle-aged men armed with weapons attacked journalists on the scene. The police intercepted two attackers, but did not immediately investigate them. They were released by the police. These two men continued to attack a journalist and were again apprehended by the police. Only one of these attackers was arrested. On the contrary, the police asked to search the belongings and identity card of a journalist that was attacked. In addition, during this search, the police used their shields to block themselves from other journalists, deliberately obstructing further reporting.
The Hong Kong Journalists Association must point out that the working environment of journalists is getting worse and worse. Violent individuals and gangs are becoming more malicious in targeting and intimidating journalists, thereby seriously damaging freedom of the press. The Hong Kong Journalists Association urges the police to face up to these abuses and to ensure fair law enforcement.
The Hong Kong Journalists Association
16 September 2019