Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is concerned that Hong Kong’s police failed to
properly release information regarding a number of attacks in Hong Kong’s Tseung
Kwan O district and have breached the police department’s own commitments to
Four people were
physically attacked in separate incidents in Tseung Kwan O over a twelve-hour
period on October 2 and 3. However, police did not release official information
to the media about the incidents until after reports of the attacks emerged in Hong Kong newspapers almost a week later, on October 9.
Delays in the release of
police information have previously been identified by IFJ affiliate the Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA) as an issue
of concern. In their 2009/2010
Annual Report, the HKJA identified a number of cases of police withholding
information about criminal cases. Similarly, on February 13, Hong Kong police
only confirmed the burglary of a watch store after a report of the crime had
already been published in various Hong Kong
newspapers. In this case police withheld all information regarding the crime
for over a week without explanation.
In refusing to promptly
release information of the attacks, the Hong Kong
police have failed to honour their promise, made when their communication
systems were upgraded from analogue to digital, to disclose information to the media
as soon as possible.
Kong’s Access to Information Code, the police department is one of
the government agencies that have a positive duty of public disclosure. Under
the Code, the department has an obligation to release information, unless it could
cause public harm or prejudice criminal proceedings.
“The media has a duty to
report cases in the public interest, and provide citizens with information
regarding the safety of their community,” the IFJ
“It is important that
police not only investigate crime, but also provide the media and public with a
honest account of threats to their security.”
The IFJ urges Hong Kong Police
Commissioner Andy Tsang Wai-Hung to ensure Hong Kong Police honour their commitment
to immediate public disclosure and fully investigate the failure to disclose
the Tseung Kwan O attacks.
information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific
on +612 9333 0919
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