Intentionally pepper-sprays and pushes reporter down twice
At least one male was seen being subdued by police during the setting up of roadblocks on the night of 19th January. A Stand News reporter was twice intentionally pushed by the PTU officers during their dispersal actions, despite them retreating. Other reporters felt discomfort during the many bursts of pepper-spray and had to receive medical treatment by the first-aiders present at the scene. RTHK (Radio Television Hong Kong) made it clear in their statement that they believed the excessive and unreasonable force by the the police required a thorough explanation.
During the dispersal actions, the PTU officers repeatedly yelled for the reporters on site to back off, the Stand News reporter even being pushed from Gala Place out onto Nathan Road while constantly being pummeled by the officers’ insults. The Stand News reporter, as mentioned, was pushed down twice during the police’s advance.
RTHK’s spokesperson stated that though their reporters cooperated with the officers’ instructions and retreated as ordered to, they were all subject to the arbitrary pepper-spraying to the officers’ heart’s content, which was a deliberate act of unreasonable force. He demanded for the police to respect the press’s right to report, and for the frontline officers to restrain their use of force in a disciplined and civilized manner. To RTHK’s statement, the Police Force later replied that it had always been respecting the press’s right to report and that of the freedom of the press. In the premises that it does not affect their operations, they will send Media Liaison Cadres to provide a more convenient working environment for the press, and that the Complaints Against Police Office is open to anyone who would like to file complaints.
Cap. 212 Offences against the Person Ordinance No.39:
Assault occasioning actual bodily harm
Any person who is convicted of an assault occasioning actual bodily harm shall be guilty of an offence triable upon indictment, and shall be liable to imprisonment for 3 years.
Cap. 232A Police (Disicpline) Regulations Part 1 No. 3:
(2)The offences against discipline are—
(k)unlawful or unnecessary exercise of authority resulting in loss or injury to any other person or to the Government;
Police General Orders Chapter 39 No. 39-05:
39-05 Working with Media Representatives
All officers at the scene of an incident shall:-
(a) facilitate the work of the news media as much as possible and accord media representatives consideration and courtesy; and
(b) not block camera lenses.
Related Incident: 19/1, Mong Kok