The Foreign Correspondent’s Club of Hong Kong (FCCHK) and the Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA) have released statements condemning several attacks on journalists covering the chaos in Mong Kok and Causeway Bay last night.
In one incident reported by the HKJA, a man allegedly hit a female reporter in the arm with a small object. She was examined in the hospital and filed a police report but no arrests have been made. In another, Hong Wrong website founder Tom Grundy was hit in the face with a plastic tea bottle.
Coconuts Multimedia Director Alexander Hotz was also attacked as he was filming in Mong Kok. His camera was slapped and he was punched in the face by an irate man, all of which was captured in the Coconuts TV video below.
Watch the entire Coconuts TV report on last night’s chaos in Mong Kok and Causeway Bay here.
Coconuts Hong Kong also filmed anti-Occupy protests harrassing an Al-Jazeera cameraman.
The FCCHK said that a reporter from RTHK was also beaten by police and that others have been threatened with sexual assault. In another case the FCCHK reported that in one case police were observed leading a suspect to a taxi instead of arresting him, and that there are allegations of police seemingly arresting offenders but then releasing them minutes later.
The FCCHK’s statement concluded with a strong declaration on the importance of press freedom and a condemnation of the attacks:
The Foreign Correspondents’ Club, Hong Kong, is deeply disturbed by these reports, especially those ascribed directly to police officers, or where police could have intervened but do not appear to have done so.
Reporters, like all citizens, rely on the police for protection. The right to a free press and to free expression are constitutionally guaranteed here. We fully expect the neutrality and professionalism for which Hong Kong police have been renowned. Reports such as those outlined above do considerable damage to Hong Kong’s image both at home and abroad.
We call on the police force to respect the duty of journalists to carry out their professional duty to report these events free of interference and harassment.
The HKJA meanwhile urged journalists to be careful and film any attacks.
The Hong Kong Journalists Association appeals for your greatest caution and mutual support in covering this and other similar events. When circumstances allow, film any attack and report the case to the police.
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