The International Federation of
Journalists (IFJ) demands the Police Department of Hong Kong explains the detention
of two journalists after they took photos of police escorting protestors from a
demonstration in Hong Kong on July 1.
The IFJ learned that Kiri Choy, an intern
journalist with New Tang Dynasty Television, and David Cheung, a citizen
journalist with Green Radio, were detained by police on the night of July 1.
They told the IFJ they had disclosed their identities to the police but were
unable to produce their press cards when questioned. They were arrested and
detained at a police station in Aberdeen, Hong Kong for more than 10 hours.
“My employer faxed my identity
confirmation letter with a company seal to the police station shortly after I
called my company. They refused to release me, giving the excuse that my “letter
and company seal need to be verified as authentic” even though my company had
called them five times to do so,” Kiri said.
“The Police treated me like a protestor,
even using a charge of obstruction of a public place
to arrest me.”
David Cheung was also detained, but could not contact his employer.
“I did not participate in the
demonstration but was there taking photos, when police detained me just because
I didn’t bring my press card,” Cheung said.
“I was surprised police demanded to
check photographers’ press cards after they took away all the protestors in the
police car. It was the first time I have never seen that.”
Hong Kong Human Rights Monitor Director
Yuk Kai Law, who regularly monitors police behaviour at demonstrations, was
among the photographers that stood aside while police escorted the arrested protestors
to police vehicles.
“We clearly did not obstruct police,
however they suddenly accused us of doing so and demanded to take us away with the
excuse of obstructing their duties which is obviously not true,” Law said.
He was also detained for obstructing
police duties and forced to leave the demonstration site by police.
“While Hong Kong Police have a duty
to maintain an orderly society, it appears in this instance they have
contravened this duty by accusing media and other human rights defenders of
crimes without substantial evidence,” IFJ Asia-Pacific
“Press Freedom is enshrined in
Chapter 3 of Basic Law, in the constitution of Hong Kong.
This abuse of police power is a violation of the Basic Law and Chapter 39, Section 5 of Police General Orders which clearly states that
police are not allowed to block camera lenses.”
The IFJ demands Hong
Kong police unconditionally drop all arbitrary charges against
journalists and uphold their constitutional duty to allow media to operate
freely, without fear of arrest.
information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific
on +61 2 9333 0919
represents more than 600,000 journalists in 131 countries
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