IFJ Urges Hong Kong Police to Explain Arrest of Journalists

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 said.  


“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.


For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0919


The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 131 countries


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