An intern reporter is facing contempt of court charges for failing to comply with a temporary injunction that required protesters to leave the Mong Kok protest site during the 2014 pro-democracy Occupy demonstrations.

At the High Court on Wednesday, Mak Ying-sheung, a master’s student at Lingnan University, said that she became an intern reporter with online news outlet In-media in November 2014. She was required to complete 168 hours of work and work on a feature story. Mak picked the Occupy protests as her topic, Apple Daily reported, but had not been granted a press pass at the time of her arrest.

High Court
The High Court, Admiralty. Photo: Catherine Lai/HKFP.

Mak said that, on the morning of November 26, she intended to take photos at the scene, find out more about the situation and then leave. However, a special tactical squad officer said that she did not have a press pass, while another officer pulled her bag.

When she saw pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong had lost his balance in front of her, she instinctively reached out to help, she said. The police then arrested her.

Mak said that she did not intend on hindering the clearance or obstructing any arrests, and that she was only engaged in reporting work. However, the prosecutor questioned whether she was there as a reporter, and played police footage of someone said to be the defendant chanting slogans at the scene. The defendant denied doing so.

mak ying sheung
Mak Ying-sheung.

The defence summoned an editor from In-media, who told the court that the defendant was assigned reporting work the night before. Although he did not give further instructions on November 26, he expected that the defendant would complete the task given. He also said that the police did not seek confirmation from him as to whether Mak was a reporter, In-media reported.

Judge Andrew Chan then asked the editor if the name “In-media” referred to independent media, or pro-independence media. He also asked whether the platform supported Hong Kong independence. The editor said that their organisation was an independent not-for-profit organisation and not a platform advocating independence.

Other defendants charged with contempt of court over the protests include activists Lester Shum and Joshua Wong, both of whom have pleaded guilty to the charges.

Karen is a journalist and writer covering politics and legal affairs in Hong Kong for HKFP. She has also written features on human rights, public space, regional legal developments, social and grassroots activism, and arts & culture. She is a BA and LLB graduate from the University of Hong Kong.