Hong Kong: IFJ condemns police violence against Now News driver

A driver from Now News was targeted with a projectile fired by a police weapon on October 14, before being beaten and detained by police for two hours. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its affiliate the Hong Kong Journalist Association (HKJA) strongly condemn the violence perpetrated by police against media workers and demands that all cases be independently investigated.

Mr Lau on the ground with his hands behind his back. Credit: Now TV

According to a statement by Now TV, the Now News driver was hit by a suspected “bean bag” round on the morning of October 14 as he walked to his company vehicle.  The driver, Mr Lau was hit in the back of the head and fell to the ground. Pictures provided by Now News of Lau on the ground show a press vest next to him.  A bean bag round is a type of ammunition used by police, filled with allegedly non-lethal materials, but are fired from a firearm. Such “bean bag” ammunition, however, is routinely condemned by human rights groups for its potential for harm or lethal injury.

Following the shooting, police tied Mr Lau’s hands behind his back and took him to the police station where he was allegedly beaten with a baton while his face was pushed against the wall. Throughout these incidents, Mr Lau said he identified himself as a Now News staff member multiple times.

He was later taken to the hospital for surgery. Now News reported the driver had “injuries on his forehead and nine other injuries on his arms, legs, hands and a fractured jaw.” It also expressed regret over the detention and injury to its driver, condemning the police’s indiscriminate violence.

The HKJA  said it strongly condemned “the Police for the unreasonable detention and alleged violent assault of news media staff” and demanded a thorough investigation and full account of the incident by the police.

The Police must offer an apology to the injured and make sure the attacker/s be held responsible for criminal offences if they are found to have breached rules and made mistakes,” said HKJA.

The IFJ said: “We strongly condemn the shooting of Mr Lau using this so-called non-leathal weapon and excessive  use of force used against him during his detention. We urge the Hong Kong government to ensure attacks like on media workers are independently investigated to ensure a fair and neutral investigation.”

For further information contact IFJ Asia - Pacific on [email protected]

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 140 countries

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