Citizens' Radio rebels raided again

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 13 August, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 13 August, 2009, 12:00am

Telecoms watchdog Ofta last night raided unlicensed station Citizens' Radio.

About 15 Ofta workers and three police officers raided the station's premises in Chai Wan at about 10.45pm, station controller Spooky Chan said.

'Someone looking like an ordinary person rang the door bell ... when we opened the door, the group just rushed in,' Mr Chan said.

They seized equipment including a transmitter and an antenna, and told the station that it had been broadcasting illegally. Mr Chan said the raid took an hour.

Citizens' Radio was in the middle of a music programme, and Mr Chan and the show host were the only people in the station.

'Their action came without any notice, and did not specify which programme or when we broke the law,' said Mr Chan adding that the raid was carried out when few people were at the station.

Lawmaker Leung Kwok-hung, a founder of the station, said Citizens' Radio might stage a roadside broadcast on Saturday to protest against the raid.

'They slap us once, and we will slap them five times,' he said.

Mr Leung said they should instead raid drug dealers, who were harmful to society rather than the radio station, which was not a threat.

Citizens' Radio had been raided on December 19 after a Court of Appeal ruling overturned a magistrate's earlier ruling dismissing charges against the broadcaster saying that the radio licensing regime was unconstitutional. The appeal judges ruled that the unlicensed broadcasting would be illegal regardless of constitutionality. They ordered a trial to resume and Citizens' Radio to pay costs.

The station planned to appeal but was turned down by the Legal Aid Department. The station will file an appeal against the department's decision today.