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Hong Kong journalists harassed, photographer detained, while covering arguments over sale of Olympic tickets

(IFJ/IFEX) - The following is an IFJ media release:

IFJ Condemns Harassment of Hong Kong Journalists in Beijing

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins the Hong Kong Journalists' Association (HKJA), an IFJ affiliate, in strongly condemning a series of incidents of harassment against Hong Kong journalists in Beijing.

Reporter C. M. Yeung, of Hong Kong-based Now TV, was reportedly attacked by bystanders on July 24 while filming an argument among people queueing to buy tickets for Olympic events.

A group of uniformed police in the area refused to intervene to assist the reporters, and instead demanded that the journalists delete all footage of the incident as well as sign a form agreeing that the matter was now closed.

Yeung's colleague, Melanie Chau, who was also present, told the IFJ that the media personnel refused to sign the documents.

On July 25, Yeung was allegedly pulled backwards from a ladder by the same police contingent while once again filming arguments in ticket queues.

In another incident on July 25, journalist F. C. Law, of Hong Kong's Cable News TV, was reportedly grabbed by police and pushed to the ground after a scuffle in Beijing. Law suffered bruising to his neck. A cameraman from TVB, another Hong Kong broadcaster, attempted to film the incident but police forcefully confiscated the footage.

Felix Wong, a photographer for the South China Morning Post, was detained by police during the same incident.

The scuffle broke out after police told media personnel that they had strayed outside the permitted reporting zone.

Wong told the IFJ, "We were confused by the arrangements because the police kept changing the so-called reporting area."

The incidents have heightened concerns that local police and security officials have failed to grasp the freedoms promised by the Chinese Government and the Beijing Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (BOCOG).

"These aggressive acts towards Hong Kong journalists show total disregard for the Regulations on Reporting Activities in which China promised that Hong Kong journalists could report freely on the Olympic Games," IFJ Asia-Pacific said.

"China must ensure that all law enforcement agencies abide by the Regulations and allow journalists from within and without China to work freely."

The IFJ joins the HKJA in calling on authorities to take immediate steps to prevent further such incidents in Beijing.

The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 122 countries worldwide.

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