A Hong Kong court has granted an interim injunction to ban the release of any personal information of police officers, which was filed by the Department of Justice and the Police Commissioner earlier on Friday.

The injunction prohibits the sharing of officers’ and their family members’ names, job roles, addresses, emails, birthdays, phone numbers, social media accounts, car licence plate numbers, photos, and other personal details without their consent. It would also ban anyone from threatening or harassing police officers and their family members, along with inciting such behaviour.

high court
File photo: Holmes Chan/HKFP.

The application calls on defendants to “take all steps as may be necessary” to remove any unlawfully disclosed personal information of officers.

The interim injunction will stay in place until the court conducts a hearing on November 8, where the Department of Justice and police chief will argue their case for a formal injunction.

Police Public Relations Branch Senior Superintendent Kong Wing-cheung and Cyber Security and Technology Crime Bureau Superintendent Swalikh Mohammed declined to respond to reporters’ questions upon leaving the court.

The move came after more than four months of mass protests, originally over the government’s now-withdrawn extradition agreement proposal with China. The movement has since morphed into calls for an independent investigation into the police’s handling of the crisis, democracy and amnesty for those arrested since June, among other demands.

Hong Kong police have repeatedly condemned the sharing of officers’ personal information – a practice known as doxxing. Since July, messages containing details related to prominent officers have appeared on so-called “Lennon Walls” across the city, prompting the force to clear them.

Wong Tai Sin Disciplined Services Quarters
A clash at the Wong Tai Sin Disciplined Services Quarters in August 2019.

Earlier this week, the Junior Police Officers’ Association won an application for an injunction barring the public from checking personal details on the voters’ registry, on the grounds that this might be used against officers.

Meanwhile, the High Court has extended an injunction banning obstruction, damaging and defacing of 21 Disciplined Services Quarters until further notice.

The Department of Justice’s application for the injunction to be extended was approved on Friday.

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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.