Hong Kong’s Security Bureau has “expressed deep regret” over “a misleading and fact-twisting commentary” published by Ming Pao on the government’s decision to ban cannabidiol, commonly known as CBD, from February next year.

The bureau, in the statement published on Thursday, said it had “grave concern” over some “misleading articles” published by the paper recently, also naming an op-ed on the handling of human trafficking cases and a cartoon.

cbd gummies
CBD gummies at a cafe in Kennedy Town. Photo: Hillary Leung/HKFP.

The CBD op-ed was penned by Lun Chi-wai, ex-chairperson of the Hong Kong Social Workers’ General Union, and published on Thursday. It discussed the government’s recent decision to ban CBD.

Lun wrote that the decision “seemed to share” some of the same “background and reasons” with regulations in mainland China.

“[I] think that it is understandable that the Hong Kong government has to consider the consistency of the anti-drug laws in the two regions, even though government officials did not disclose the relation between this legislation and mainland policies!” Lun wrote.

The Security Bureau said that Lun had distorted the government’s intention, and that the article turned “a blind eye to these facts, downplays the harmful effects caused by drug abuse and irrationally associates our legislation with the Mainland.”

“The article seriously distorts the intent of safeguarding public health by controlling CBD through legislation, and purposely misinterprets such legislation as relating to the policy of the Mainland, which may sow discord between the Mainland and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region,” the Security Bureau statement read.

Lun Chi-wai
Lun Chi-wai. File Photo.

Lun also urged the social welfare sector to “not blindly support” such policies, calling on social workers to voice their opinions as soon as possible, as the sector could foresee the path that anti-drugs policy would go.

The Security Bureau spokesperson said that the government “believed that the welfare sector is professionally capable to make a judgement, and will not blindly support the government’s anti-drug efforts and policies.”

“The article, which questions the welfare sector, not only affects the morale of the workers in the anti-drug sector, but also arouses suspicion of inciting the sector to question the Government’s anti-drug efforts or to pull back its support,” the spokesperson said in the statement.

The bureau also referred to a satirical comic from political cartoonist Zunzi, which depicted officers outside a school in full riot gear.

The Hong Kong police wrote to the newspaper and said at the time that the cartoon’s content could lead to misunderstanding among readers that the police would actually deploy staff to handle such matters, local media reported.

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Candice is a reporter at Hong Kong Free Press. She previously worked as a researcher at a local think tank. She has a BSocSc in Politics and International Relations from the University of Manchester and a MSc in International Political Economy from London School of Economics.