The staff union of the Ming Pao newspaper has urged the police force and its watchdog to follow up an allegation that a group of officers assaulted its reporter during the Mong Kok unrest in February.

A Ming Pao reporter was allegedly “punched and kicked” by officers while covering February’s protests, despite showing identity documents proving he was a journalist. The case was referred to the Complaints Against Police Office – a police internal unit – with the reporter giving evidence in March. The force said they are still investigating the case.

The injured Ming Pao journalist.
The injured Ming Pao journalist.

The Ming Pao Staff Association demanded Monday the police apologise to the reporter and promise that similar incidents will not happen in the future. They handed in petition letters addressed to the Police Commissioner and the chair of the Independent Police Complaints Council.

“Police should not violate the right of journalists to fulfil their reporting duty. It is unacceptable to attack journalists,” the union said in an open letter.

“When the Commissioner took office, he said he respected press freedom and promised to make every effort to investigate allegations of any attack or unfair treatment [of journalists],” it said.

“However, it has been 300 days since the Ming Pao assault incident… there has not been any progress and our reporter has only been informed that the case is still under investigation.”

ming pao staff police
Ming Pao staff gave a petition letter to the police. Photo: Ming Pao Staff Association.

“Criminal investigations supposedly have a higher bar, yet the police have already finished the investigations and pressed charges against protesters during the Mong Kok clashes,” it added. “It is difficult to understand why there has been no progress in the probe of the police assault allegation. We suspect that the police are intentionally delaying the investigation efforts.”

Assault by pro-police group

The union also urged the police and its watchdog to follow up another incident that took place in August at a dinner organised by a pro-police group. Two Ming Pao reporters were attacked and their phones taken by a dozen attendees during an interview with the group’s convener Leticia Lee See-yin.

The two reporters were subsequently sent to the hospital. The police have not told the pair how the investigations are progressing.

The union demanded the police press charges against those who breached the law as soon as possible.

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Ellie Ng has written for Foreign Policy, the Daily Telegraph, Global Voices Online and others.