The Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA) said it has received 42 complaints involving officers abusing reporters and cameramen over the past few months, but it believes this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Along with the Hong Kong Press Photographers Association, the HKJA accused the police of a range of hostile actions against media workers, including using pepper spray on them, shining bright torches to make filming difficult, and calling them “corrupt journalists”.
The two groups compiled a three-minute video highlighting cases of alleged abuse, including an incident in Yau Ma Tei on Sept 1 where an RTHK cameraman and another reporter were attacked in front of the police, without the officers taking any action to intervene.
The two organisations warned that the police’s behaviour towards the media means that the SAR’s press freedom is now under threat.
They demanded the force apologise for its “attacks” on reporters and called for an inquiry into officers’ actions.
HKJA chairman Chris Yeung said he doesn’t want to speculate as to why some officers appear to treat journalists as their enemies, but his association always welcomes dialogue with the force.
“The last time we sat down and talked was in early June, when there were complaints of police harassment and use of strong lights to interrupt photographers and cameramen. Since then we have made statements, we have staged petitions to the government, and there was no concrete response from them,” Yeung said.