Hong Kong’s High Court has issued an interim injunction order prohibiting the public from disclosing the personal information of police officers and their families — and even taking photos of them.
According to a writ filed by the Department of Justice today, the plaintiffs are the the secretary of justice and the commissioner of police on behalf of the city’s police force and auxiliary officers.
They requested the judges forbid “using, publishing, communicating or disclosing” any personal data of officers and their families.
[Breaking] HK police have filed an injunction application to bar anyone from disclosing personal details, including names, of police officers, auxiliary officers and their family amid concerns of doxxing. Anyone who has done it is asked to withdraw the information pic.twitter.com/SXqg2orBuV
— Chris Lau (@hkchrislau) October 25, 2019
The granting of the interim injunction effectively means that members of the public are banned from publishing any personal details, including names, police ID numbers, addresses, social media profiles, and even photographs of police officers.
News of the injunction has understandably sparked concern among reporters and lawyers about what this means for the rule of law and press freedom in Hong Kong, especially after months of intensifying police crackdowns and apparent attempts by officers to prevent observers from documenting their actions or from identifying them when making complaints.
The terms of the injunction are outrageously wide. Appears to include taking a photograph of any police officer & posting it online (eg posting photo of police at protests on Twitter), also prevents people “harrassing” or “pestering” police (eg people shouting 黑警 etc).
— Antony Dapiran (@antd) October 25, 2019
The writ said people must also be banned from “assisting, causing, counselling, procuring, instigating, inciting, aiding, abetting or authorising others” to release such information.
It also said the public must be restricted from “intimidating, molesting, harassing, threatening, pestering or interfering” with any police officer.
RTHK reports that the injunction will be in force until November 8.
This Stand News pic illustrates the situation well pic.twitter.com/DsHB72YpH7
— Kris Cheng (@krislc) October 25, 2019