The staff association of Chinese-language newspaper Ming Pao has penned open letters to the police commissioner and chair of the police watchdog, urging them to follow up on an allegation that a group of officers assaulted its reporter during the Mong Kok unrest in February 2016.
A Ming Pao reporter was allegedly “punched and kicked” by officers whilst covering the protests, despite showing identity documents proving he was a journalist.
According to the association, the reporter was taking photos from the upper level of a double-decker bus. He was asked to leave by the police – but when he reached the door of the bus, he was pressed onto the ground by numerous offices with shields and attacked. He required stitches for his injuries.
The case was referred to the Complaints Against Police Office – an internal unit – with the reporter giving evidence in March 2016. However, two years after the incident, there have still been no updates on the investigation.
In an open letter to Police Commissioner Stephen Lo published on Tuesday, Ming Pao said: “[I]n order to protect the interests of the relevant journalist and the fairness of the case, it should be dealt with as soon as possible.”
The staff association said that it was “extremely disappointed” in the two-year delay and said it hopes Lo will promise that there is no instance of partiality because police officers are involved.
“We request that if the investigation shows officers did assault a reporter carrying out his duties, the police will take disciplinary action and apologise to the attacked reporter, so as to ensure that similar incidents will not reoccur.”
The letter also said Lo had stated, when taking office, that he respects the freedom of the press and that the police will do their best to investigate when anyone is attacked or unfairly treated.
Another letter addressed to Independent Police Complaints Commissioner Chairman Larry Kwok enquired as to the progress of the investigation. The association asked “whether the commission will follow up on the slow pace of the investigation and ensure that the police handle the case impartially.”