Arbitrary arrests violently, locks with chains in hospital, rebukes corrupted, Police releases journalist without conditions
Riot police charged into Cityplaza, Taikoo to clamp down on a pro-democracy human chain on 3 Nov 2019. A freelance photojournalist from The Stand News, Joey Kwok was thrown to the ground and subdued by a number of riot polices, then arrested for deliberately obstructing the police in the execution of their lawful duties. He was released without conditions after a detention of over 21 hours.
After being released, Joey revealed during detention, officers verbally assaulted her, rebuking her as “corrupted journalist”, “pretending as journalist”, “having persecutory delusion” etc. Yet he kept clam and refused to respond, he was lucky that he was not harmed physically. The Stand News condemned police restricting journalists from covering the scene by arbitrary arrests, stated that they will seek legal advice to take further action in a proper way.
Crouched down to take photographs in a long distance, suddenly being thrown to ground by officers who rushed close.
Joey has been working with The Stand News (the organisation) on photojournlism for years. On 3 Nov 2019 at around 5 pm, he was assigned to Cityplaza in Taikoo by the organisation taking photographs of human chains and protestors singing in the mall. After he received the message of riot police charging into the mall to chase and arrest, he then searched the scene on the first and second floor. He saw a citizen being knocked down and arrested by several riot police, at the escalator near the ice rink on the first floor. He crouched down in order to capture the arrestee’s face clearly, there was no officers nearby but only two journalists with safety vests.
A troop of riot police rushed towards Joey suddenly, threw him on the ground and pushed away other journalists. His personal protective equipment fell off to the ground. A suspected officer restrained him from behind to stop him picking up his equipment, he could only protect his camera on his chest with hands. Joey requested to pick up his equipment while stating he is a journalist but officers did not let go, a suspected commander even yelled,”Shut up! Don’t let him speak!” and ordered other officers to lock him as soon as possible. Three officers knelt on his shoulders and thigh, and locked his arms at the back to bring him away. “I kept calm and relaxed my body during the whole process, also did not resist as this is the only way to prevent being beaten.”
Officers berated Joey, “taking the camera to impersonate journalists”
After Joey was handcuffed, he requested officers to pick up his equipment on the floor but officers wanted to cramp them into his backpack. He was worried about being incriminated by fabricated evidence planted so he rejected the offer. He was then chided of having “persecutory delusion” and the equipment were cramped into his bag.
Officers charged him onto the Police car on the ground floor. Officer UI number 10861 kept insulting and provoking him. ‘He claimed I am a “corrupted journalist”, “taking the camera to impersonate journalists” and asked if I am happy to see rioters setting fires and spoiling. After I got on the car, he shouted to shut me up again when I asked where should I sit. Obviously he was very emotional and irritable,’ said Joey. Although there were several arrestees in Taikoo, he was brought on the car individually, sent to Chai Wan Police Station alone.
Denied ‘deliberately obstructing the police in the execution of their lawful duties’ and refused to bail, he was released without conditions
A simple body searching process was taken in the temporary holding cell. He did not meet any specific difficulties in contacting family and lawyers or dining arrangements. Officers returned all his personal belongings before he went on the ambulance and was sent to the hospital, except his camera. His statement and fingerprints were taken with his lawyer. Officers once required to search his house but was rejected as ‘obstructing the police in the execution of their lawful duties’ only depends on actions taken at the scene, which has no relationship with anything in his house.
Concerning the arrest, joey was surprised as he usually keeps an appropriate distance with the scene of arrest and has a high motility to avoid being shot by any weapons. Although he was arrested, he is confident that the police has inadequate evidence to charge him, so he was calm throughout the whole detention, taking this time as experiencing arresting procedures to understand possibly situations of other arrestees. He is thankful for the care and supports from readers and citizens, says he will continue working in The Stand News and reporting on the front line.