A driver for Now TV was hit by a police projectile outside Mong Kok police station on Sunday before being detained and beaten by officers inside, according to the broadcaster.

Protesters were throwing petrol bombs at the station throughout the night as vehicles for local broadcasters were parked nearby.

Photo: NowTV.

At around 1:30am, the Now TV driver – surnamed Lau – proceeded to the company vehicle when he was struck with a suspected bean bag round in the back of the head. Lau had a press vest next to him after he fell to the floor.

A Now TV cameraman then told the police that Lau was a colleague, but he was ordered to leave by officers wielding pepper spray and shields.

A police pointing pepper spray at Now TV cameraman. Photo: NowTV.

The news channel said Lau’s hands were tied behind his back, and was taken into the police station. He was released more than two hours later before being sent to the nearby Kwong Wah Hospital.

Now TV issued a statement on Monday saying Lau was beaten up inside the police station and suffered nine clear injuries, including to the forehead, two elbows, joints on the internal side of his legs, palms and his chin. The right side of his chin was fractured.

According to Now TV, the driver said he was brought to a staircase, and his face was pushed against a wall as his head, arm and leg were beaten with batons: “He stated clearly he was a staff member for our station multiple times during the incident,” the news channel’s statement said.

Photo: NowTV.

It condemned the police action, urged them to investigate and to exercise restraint when enforcing the law. Lau will remain in hospital for treatment.

Legal action

Meanwhile, Veby Mega Indah – a journalist who is set to lose sight in one eye after being shot in the face with a police projectile last month – is set to take legal action.

Her lawyer Michael Vidler expressed regret that the police officer concerned had not been located: “In the face of these failures by the HK police to take appropriate action to investigate this very serious incident and failure by the Commissioner of Police to suspend the officer concerned, we shall be filing applications in the High Court to force the Commissioner to reveal the identity of the perpetrator in order that a private prosecution can be laid against the perpetrator,” he wrote in a message to HKFP.

Veby Mega Indah after being injured. Photo: Citizen News.

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.

In a message passed on via Vidler, Veby thanked supporters for their blessings: “I am very grateful for the continued care I receive from the medical team at hospital and have been very touched by the prayers and expressions of support that I have received from the people of Hong Kong and Indonesia.”

City-wide protests against a now-scrapped extradition bill have entered their 19th week, as wider anger over police misconduct and demands for democracy engulf the movement.

The Hong Kong Journalists Association has also filed a legal challenge against the police over what it has described as improper treatment of media at ongoing protests. HKFP has submitted a statement as part of the judicial review.

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Kris Cheng

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.