Police pepper sprays reporting journalist in face, forces to turn off camera flash
Hundreds protested in Richland Gardens in Kowloon bay against listing Kowloon Bay Health Centre as one of the designated clinics of coronavirus. Citizens blocked roads and argued at residential area, riot police and raptors were on the scene to disperse the crowd. Officers raised blue flag (warning crowds of the use of force) and pepper sprayed for several times, pulled a man into the cordon and took him away.
Officers kept ordering journalists and the crowd to move backward. Journalists including two photojournalists from RTHK, were stepping backward, yet officers pepper sprayed their lenses and ordered them to turn off camera flashes. A voluntary first aider was also ordered to leave when providing care to a pepper sprayed man. Officers said, non-journalists were forbidden to stay otherwise would be searched.
Article 27 of the Basic Law states : “Hong Kong residents shall have freedom of speech, of the press and of publication; freedom of association, of assembly, of procession and of demonstration; and the right and freedom to form and join trade unions, and to strike”
Cap. 232A Police (Discipline) Regulations
2) The offences against discipline are—
(j)making a statement which is false in a material particular in the course of his duty or in connexion with the discharge by the police force of any of its duties or functions;
(k)unlawful or unnecessary exercise of authority resulting in loss or injury to any other person or to the Government;
Cap. 212 Offences against the Person Ordinance
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.
(Replaced 24 of 1950 Schedule. Amended 50 of 1991 s. 4)
[cf. 1861 c. 100 s. 4 U.K.]
Police General Orders Ch 39
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: 0216 Protest against designated clinic plans in Kowloon Bay