A Hong Kong man has been jailed for two months and two weeks after he was convicted of disclosing personal information and photos of a police officer who shot a protester during the 2019 anti-extradition bill unrest.

Eastern Magistrates' Courts
Eastern Magistrates’ Courts. Photo: Kelly Ho/HKFP.

Johnson Leung was put behind bars by Magistrate Jeffrey Sze on Tuesday after he was found guilty of breaching the city’s doxxing law by posting photos of a policeman involved in the shooting in Sai Wan Ho in November 2019, local media reported.

The 50-year-old was said to have made two posts on Twitter between November and December last year, when he shared a video of the shooting with a hashtag showing the full Chinese name of the officer involved. He also posted an altered image of the officer and his two daughters and added hashtags including “our dad is a murderer,” local media reports read.

In meting out Leung’s prison term, the magistrate said it was clear that he had intended to express through his posts that the officer in question had killed an unarmed citizen. The protester who was shot was still alive, however, and therefore Leung’s statement was not truthful, Sze said.

The magistrate also pointed to an injunction order from the High Court in 2019, which banned the disclosure of the personal information of police officers involved in the extradition bill unrest, as well as details of their extended family members.

Magistrate Jeffrey Sze Cho-yiu. File photo: The Judiciary.
Magistrate Jeffrey Sze Cho-yiu. File photo: The Judiciary.

The shooting was a high-profile event during the protests and the officer involved already faced a lot of pressure, the magistrate said. He added the disclosure of his personal data had aggravated to the levels of harassment and affected his young daughters’ lives.

Protests erupted in June 2019 over a since-axed extradition bill. They escalated into sometimes violent displays of dissent against police behaviour, amid calls for democracy and anger over Beijing’s encroachment. Demonstrators demanded an independent probe into police conduct, amnesty for those arrested and a halt to the characterisation of protests as “riots.” 

Doxxing law

Hong Kong amended its privacy legislation in September 2021 to criminalise the disclosure of personal data without consent with an intent to cause harassment, physical or psychological harm, intimidation and other “specified harm” to the person involved or their family members.

Offenders face up to five years in prison and a fine of HK$1 million.

The protester shot during the Sai Wan Ho protest was jailed for six years last November after he was convicted of obstructing a police officer and attempting to escape from legal custody. During his trial, the court also imposed an anonymity order barring the disclosure of the personal information of the police officer who fired the live round.

In April, prominent activist Joshua Wong was jailed for three months for doxxing the same police officer. The 27-year-old has been behind bars since December 2020, when he was imprisoned for 13.5 months for organising and inciting an unauthorised assembly outside the police headquarters in June 2019.

He was later arrested in prison and charged alongside 46 other democrats under the national security law over an alleged conspiracy to commit subversion. He has remained in custody pending sentencing after the lengthy trial, which began in February and is expected to conclude by the end of this year.

Support HKFP  |  Policies & Ethics  |  Error/typo?  |  Contact Us  |  Newsletter  | Transparency & Annual Report | Apps

Help safeguard press freedom & keep HKFP free for all readers by supporting our team

contribute to hkfp methods
hkfp flask store
YouTube video

Support press freedom & help us surpass 1,000 monthly Patrons: 100% independent, governed by an ethics code & not-for-profit.

Success! You're on the list.

Ho Long Sze Kelly is a Hong Kong-based journalist covering politics, criminal justice, human rights, social welfare and education. As a Senior Reporter at Hong Kong Free Press, she has covered the aftermath of the 2019 extradition bill protests and the Covid-19 pandemic extensively, as well as documented the transformation of her home city under the Beijing-imposed national security law.

Kelly has a bachelor's degree in Journalism from the University of Hong Kong, with a second major in Politics and Public Administration. Prior to joining HKFP in 2020, she was on the frontlines covering the 2019 citywide unrest for South China Morning Post’s Young Post. She also covered sports and youth-related issues.