On July 21, crowds at a shopping mall in Yuen Long resulting in police fining 96 people, including journalists for breaching the public gathering restrictions. Reports indicate five people were arrested on grounds of obstruction, violating court-imposed curfews and the new national security law.
During the gathering, riot policeproceeded to search at least 50 journalists, issuing tickets for violating Covid-19 gathering restrictions, failing to present a valid press card and failing to name their employer. According to the current health regulations, group gatherings for the purpose of work are exempt from Covid-19 restrictions.
July 21, 2020 marked a year since the Yuen Long railway station attack on pro-democracy protesters involving white-clad assailants armed with steel rods, bamboo sticks and other weapons, injuring 45 civilians. Police were criticised after the attack for allegedly ignoring distress calls while the attack took place and not acting until after the attackers left.
HKJA said: “HKJA is extremely concerned about police spamming tickets to journalists wearing reflective clothes”. HKJA urges police to stop the abuse of their powers and the obstruction of working journalists.
The IFJ said: “The current pandemic and health regulations are not a tool to silence journalists covering matters of public interest. The IFJ calls on police to end the harassment and intimidation of media workers in Hong Kong.”