Veby Mega Indah, an Indonesian journalist who was shot in the face with a police projectile on Sunday, will end up permanently blind in one eye, according to her lawyer.

“Doctors treating Ms Indah have today informed her that regrettably the injury she received as a result of being shot by police, will result in permanent blindness in her right eye,” said Michael Vidler. “She was informed that the pupil of her eye was ruptured by the force of the impact. The exact percentage of permanent impairment can only be assessed after surgery.”

michael vidler Veby Mega Indah
Michael Vidler (left). Veby Mega Indah (right). Photo: Holmes Chan & CitizenNews.

Footage showed that Veby – associate editor of the Suara Hong Kong News – was wearing a high visibility jacket, a helmet with “press” markings, an eye shield, and was standing alongside other media staff when she was conducting a Facebook live stream. She fell to the ground after being struck with a projectile fired by police on a bridge near Wan Chai MTR station.

She remained conscious and was treated by first-aiders on the scene. She was then sent to Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital.

Vidler said that her family remain by her side: “We can also confirm that we have received evidence from a third party, which indicates that the projectile that blinded Ms Veby was a rubber bullet and not a beanbag round as originally thought.”

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Thousands marched in a “global anti-totalitarianism” protest on Sunday, as protests entered their 17th week. Originally in opposition to an extradition law, the demonstrations have evolved into calls for democracy, and for an investigation into alleged police misconduct.

On Monday, the Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA) said it was gravely concerned about the incident: “We are particularly concerned by reports that the injury was caused by a rubber bullet or bean bag round and that the journalist was not in the immediate vicinity of protestors at the time of the incident, she was clearly identifiable as being a member of the press and was with a number of other journalists at the time also wearing high visibility press markings,” it said in a statement.

“Police have a duty to assist the press and facilitate reporting by members of the press. It is self-evident that this means that police should not cause injury to members of the press.”

The HKJA said will be investigating.

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Tom founded Hong Kong Free Press in 2015 and is the editor-in-chief. In addition to editing, he is responsible for managing the newsroom and company - including fundraising, recruitment and overseeing HKFP's web presence and ethical guidelines.

He has a BA in Communications and New Media from Leeds University and an MA in Journalism from the University of Hong Kong. He previously led an NGO advocating for domestic worker rights, and has contributed to the BBC, Deutsche Welle, Al-Jazeera and others.