Hong Kong: Police arrest RTHK documentary producer

Hong Kong police arrested producer Choy Yuk Ling on November 3 in relation to a Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK) documentary about the 2019 Yuen Long mob attacks. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is deeply disturbed by the arrest and calls for all charges against the producer to be dropped.

Choy Yuk-Ling. Photo: RTHK Screenshot.

After police searched her home on November 3, Choy was chargedin connection to the use of car license plate records while she was conducting research for an episode of RTHK’s Hong Kong Connection.  The documentary focused on the events of July 21, 2019 when over 100 rod-wielding men stormed Yuen Long MTR station leaving 45 people injured, including journalists, protesters, commuters and pro-democracy lawmaker Lam Cheuk-ting. Police were heavily criticised for their slow response to the attacks.

The documentary, airing on RTHK on July 13, 2020, traced and identified the owners of the cars that gave rides to the attackers. They did this by using government online license plates registration records.

The Hong Kong Journalists Association is among the seven other journalist union organizations to release a joint statement  condemning the arrest and pointing out that journalists frequently use public records for research and reporting purposes.

If convicted, Choy could face a fine of HK$5,000 (USD645) and up to six months in jail. In a statement posted to Facebook Tuesday, RTHK Programme Staff Union said it was “disappointed” the police had not provided a reason for Choy’s arrest. Choy, who was released on bail on the evening of November 3, is scheduled to appear in court on November 10, 2020.

The IFJ said:  “Searching the house and arresting a producer over routine research activities amounts to suppression of press freedom. The introduction of the National Security Law in June this year has brought with it a disturbing increase in the arrest and intimidation of media workers. We call on authorities to drop all charges levelled against her.”

For further information contact IFJ Asia - Pacific on ifj@ifj-asia.org

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

Twitter: @ifjasiapacific, on Facebook: IFJAsiaPacific and Instagram