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Hong Kong union condemns deliberate attacks on media by anti-Occupy protesters

An anti-Occupy Central protester (C) scuffles with pro-democracy protesters as he tries to remove a barricade at a main street at Hong Kong's Mongkok shopping district, 4 October 2014
An anti-Occupy Central protester (C) scuffles with pro-democracy protesters as he tries to remove a barricade at a main street at Hong Kong's Mongkok shopping district, 4 October 2014

REUTERS/Carlos Barria

This article was originally published on on 8 October 2014.

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins its affiliate the Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA) in strongly condemning the brutal attacks by thugs and anti-Occupy Movement protesters against several journalists in Mong Kok, Kowloon, Hong Kong on October 3 and 4, 2014.

On Friday, October 3, a number of anti-Occupy Movement protesters, including the leader of the Anti-Occupy civil group entered the area at the juncture of Nathan Road and Argyle Street in Kowloon and Causeway Bay, where a number of Occupy Movement protesters remained since the beginning of the protests a week earlier. The Anti-Occupy protesters were there to attempt to force the eviction of the protesters. A number of scuffles broke out in which several journalists were attacked by masked Anti-Occupy protesters in Mong Kok. The journalists reported that they felt they were being targeted in the attacks.

There were at least 13 separate attacks, many of which included journalists who showed their press identification cards. Journalists from Radio Television of Hong Kong (RTHK), Apple Daily, Ming Pao, South China Morning Post and U Magazine were all injured during the attacks, which included verbal assaults and harassment. Journalists reported being slapped, hit and having water bottles thrown at them.

On Saturday, October 4, Mak Ka-Wei, a journalist with RTHK, was assaulted by an anti-Occupy protester several times, even after he identified himself as a journalist and wore his press jacket.

Mak told the IFJ: "The man simply ignored me and destroyed my camera though I had been trying to protect it." The attack left his left eye and nose severely bruised.

Tsui, another journalist from RTHK, was hit by a plain-clothed police officer at Admiralty. During the attack he was hit in the waist with a police baton despite identifying himself as press. He was holding his press card, press jacket and a RTHK microphone.

Journalist have lodged complaints to police, however no arrests have been made on 3 October. One journalist nearly punched by an anti-Occupy protester in front of a police officer, but it was reported that police did not stop the assailant or accept the complaint from the journalist.

The HKJA said "These attacks were not accidental. We call on public to say no to violence. Journalists are doing their job to report on the incident and the views of different people. They should not become the punching bag for people who feel angry their demands are unheeded."

The IFJ said: "Although the Secretary for Security, Lai Tung-Kwok, senior Government officials and the Police Department continue to deny they colluded with the triad society, their actions on the ground appears to contradict these statements."

"We are greatly concerned at this latest development in the protests and call on the Hong Kong Government and authorities to respect the role of the media in reporting the protest events across Hong Kong. We remind the government and civil society that the media have a role and should be free from intimidation and harassment to carry out this job."

The IFJ urges all journalists to remain vigilant to personal safety while reporting during the protests and consult the IFJ Safety Guidelines for Covering Demonstrations and Civil Unrest.

A full list of attacks on journalists
is available from the Hong Kong Journalists Association.

What other IFEX members are saying
  • HKJA condemns violence against journalists
  • IFJ Blog: "The media amidst the #UmbrellaRevolution"

    While attacks on media are continuing during this newly-dubbed "Umbrella Revolution", devastatingly there are still some media calling it illegal. The Central Government of China has demanded Hong Kong's media should stand firm in this accusation against the Occupy Movement. At the same time, the Central Government of China continues to attack the movement and ensure the security of Leung Chun-Ying, the Chief Executive of Hong Kong.

  • Background on Hong Kong's quest for democracy

    The current prodemocracy protests in Hong Kong came in response to an August decision by the Beijing government to limit voters' choices in future elections for the autonomous territory's chief executive. The move effectively ended a 17-year period in which Chinese leaders attempted to retain control of Hong Kong politics while still holding out the promise of eventual universal suffrage.

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