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Outrage as Beijing cops viciously assault HK journalist

Top News | Phoenix Un May 17, 2018
A NowTV cameraman was manhandled by several Beijing policemen who pinned his face to the ground, handcuffed him and then dragged him along a road yesterday. The reporter was trying to cover a hearing on a human rights lawyer.

It was the second incident of Hong Kong reporters being roughed up while covering news on the mainland within four days.

Yesterday's incident happened when video reporter Chui Chun-ming was arrested while covering the Beijing Lawyers Association hearing on the lawyer Xie Yanyi.

Central government liaison office director Wang Zhimin said he had expressed his concern over the incident to mainland authorities. He stressed that any lawful and regulatory reporting activities must be protected in the mainland.

Speaking in Guangzhou, Chief Executive Carrie Lam found the incident regrettable. The Hong Kong press should be respected for doing their jobs legally. Even if there are disputes, they should not be solved by violence, she said.

Asked about why she did not condemn violence, Lam said the case involved law enforcers and she did not want to use confrontational words before completion of the investigation.

Earlier, Acting Chief Executive Matthew Cheung Kin-chung said the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office had already intervened, adding that the Hong Kong government was concerned and had followed up on the incident.

The Hong Kong government's office in Beijing had also been instructed to look into the incident, he said.

Cheung also said the Hong Kong government was concerned about the personal safety and freedom of Hong Kong reporters working in mainland China and expected no recurrence of similar incidents.

Angry NowTV officials said they were furious over the treatment of their cameraman, claiming the reporters' legitimate interviews were unreasonably and violently stopped, and expressing extreme dissatisfaction over the injuries to Chui.

When Chui and NowTV reporter Kimberley Lee Tung-yan were stopped by the policemen from covering the news, Chui was asked to present his journalist's pass.

When he did, the police took it away, refusing to return it. When Chiu insisted, he was manhandled and pinned to the ground.

The left side of his forehead was cut and bled as he was dragged away. The police handcuffed him and pushed him into a police car, which headed for the police station.

Xie, a lawyer arrested in the "709 crackdown" in 2015 against human rights lawyers, went forward to help Chui, but was also arrested.

Chui was given only a Band-aid for his forehead. His hands and knees suffered abrasions. He was sent to hospital to have his injuries examined and released two hours later.

Chui later said while at the hospital awaiting a medical report the police demanded he sign a written repentance if he wanted to be released. "He insisted that I was wrong and I should admit it, then he said if I refused to admit it, I couldn't have my press card back," Chui said.

Other Hong Kong reporters also had their reporting interrupted by people who claimed themselves to be "normal citizens" - echoing the attack against Cable TV reporter Chan Ho-fai in Sichuan last Saturday.

The Hong Kong Journalist Association expressed anger at the suppression of press freedom by the mainland authorities.

Members went to the Liaison Office to protest. A legislator and a Hong Kong deputy of the National People's Congress, Ma Fung-kwok, said legal interviews by reporters should be protected and he was sorry violence had taken place.

He would send a letter to the NPC to urge the mainland authorities to follow-up.

Legislator Ted Hui Chi-fung moved a motion to adjourn the Legislative Council meeting to debate the incident, but president Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen refused, saying legislators could always express their views on other occasions.

phoenix.un@singtaonewscorp.com



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