Hong Kong’s Immigration Department barred freelance photographer Michiko Kiseki from the city last month, according to Japanese newspaper Nikkei.

The award-winning photographer captured the 2019 pro-democracy protests and unrest, later hosting an exhibition in Japan of her shots.

Photo: Tom Grundy/HKFP.

She said on Twitter that immigration authorities grilled her on the exhibition, which was held last February, before she was denied entry to the city on December 30, 2022.

Kiseki, who was born in Belgium and grew up partly in Hong Kong, won the Grand Prize of the 4th Photo Publishing Awards in 2021, according to her online portfolio.

Press freedom NGO the Committee to Protect Journalists reported on the entry denial, whilst the Hong Kong Journalists Association urged the government to respect free speech and the free press: “[A]s an international financial hub in Asia, journalists or other professionals should be allowed to visit or work in Hong Kong…” a statement said on Friday.

In response, the Immigration Department told HKFP: “The Immigration Department (ImmD) does not comment on individual cases. ImmD acts in accordance with the laws and policies in handling each immigration case.”

HKFP has reached out to Kiseki for comment.

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Tom is the editor-in-chief and founder of Hong Kong Free Press. He has a BA in Communications and New Media from Leeds University and an MA in Journalism from the University of Hong Kong. He has contributed to the BBC, Euronews, Al-Jazeera and others.