Hong Kong’s embattled public broadcaster RTHK won a Human Rights Press Award on Thursday with its documentary on the 2019 Yuen Long mob attacks, even though the government-run station had tried to withdraw its entries from the competition and vowed not to accept any prize.

One of the documentary’s producers Bao Choy was last month convicted and fined HK$6,000 for making false statements while obtaining vehicle registration records during her research, a judgement which critics called a blow to press freedom. She has filed an appeal against her conviction.

The episode aired last July investigated alleged police misconduct on July 21, 2019, when over 100 rod-wielding men with suspected triad links stormed Yuen Long MTR station and attacked journalists, protesters, commuters and pro-democracy lawmaker Lam Cheuk-ting. 

The police were criticised for arriving late to the scene and accused in some cases of colluding with the attackers. Few arrests were made and uniformed officers were spotted walking away from the station as emergency calls went unanswered.

Journalist Bao Choy appears in court on April 22, 2021. Photo: Studio Incendo.

The publicly-funded media organisation won five merits awards in other categories, including two episodes that involved Nabela Qoser in the production. Qoser, known for her tough, rapid-fire questioning of top government officials, is set to leave RTHK at the end of this month, after the station refused to award her a civil service contract following her extended probation.

RTHK has increasingly come under fire from the government and pro-Beijing entities in recent months.

The BBC’s reporting on the Xinjiang cotton controversy entitled “China’s ‘tainted’ cotton” won in the Multimedia category.

The awards are organised by the Foreign Correspondents’ Club and the Hong Kong Journalists Association and Amnesty International Hong Kong.

Support press freedom & help us surpass 1,000 monthly Patrons: 100% independent, governed by an ethics code & not-for-profit, Hong Kong Free Press is #PressingOn with impartial, award-winning, frontline coverage.

Kelly Ho

Kelly Ho has an interest in local politics, education and sports. She formerly worked at South China Morning Post Young Post, where she specialised in reporting on issues related to Hong Kong youth. She has a bachelor's degree in Journalism from the University of Hong Kong, with a second major in Politics and Public Administration.