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Call for investigation of cameraman's arrest during Hong Kong protests

This statement was originally published on ifj.org on 1 December 2014.

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) expresses criticism for the actions of police in the handcuffing and arrest of a journalist, the second in as many days in Hong Kong. The IFJ has also called again on the Hong Kong authorities to take a stand against the continued attacks on press freedom that have been monitored by the IFJ.

Lam Po-yik and Wong Chun-Lung, 45, cameramen for Hong Kong-based Apple Daily, were accused of assaulting and trying to snatch a police officer's gun when they were filming attempts by police to disperse protesters at the junction of Soy Street and Sai Yeung Choi Street in Mong Kok, Hong Kong.

Lam strongly denied the accusation. His colleague Wong was accused of assaulting a police officer and handcuffed. Police said Wong was using his camera too close to police during his filming.

Five media associations including IFJ affiliate the Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA), RTHK Programme Staff Union and Hong Kong Press Photographers Association encouraged the public to lodge a complaint to police headquarters.

According to South China Morning Post's online footage, a man believed to be Wong was holding his camera to film protesters as police dispersed them. A policeman's forehead accidentally knocked the camera when he turned around and he then responded by shoving the camera. Several uniform policemen immediately surrounded and pushed the cameraman to the ground and handcuffed him. After almost six hours of detention, Wong was released on bail.

Wong told the IFJ: "I have absolutely no idea how I could be accused of 'assaulting a policeman'. I was at the back of dozens of policemen when they were shoveling people who were assembled at the junction of Soy Street and Sai Yeung Choi Street. I was just normally exercising my duties and did not use my camera to touch any police officer at all."

The IFJ Asia Pacific said: "The continued attacks on press freedom are undermining journalist safety in Hong Kong and this remains a key concern for the IFJ. This incident should be investigated thoroughly."

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