Reporter to sue police for protest march detention
An intern journalist is preparing to file a civil lawsuit against Police Commissioner Andy Tsang Wai-hung for alleged unlawful detention during the July 1 protest march, amid mounting accusations that police are suppressing press freedom.
Kiri Choy Pui-man, a former intern for New York-based New Tang Dynasty Television and now a third-year media major at City University, will seek civil damages in the District Court for false imprisonment and unlawful custody, in the first case of its kind.
Choy was covering the protest for the Falun Gong-linked station in Connaught Road Central when she was taken to a police station after failing to provide media credentials.
She was detained for nine hours until 11am on July 2 and says she was not told until 6am that she had to give an affidavit and fingerprints, as she was accused of obstructing officers.
'The police knew I was a reporter and actually assisted me in my work. Some officers allowed me to pass a cordon to shoot pictures of the protesters,' Choy said yesterday. 'If I could be arrested for reporting work, my fellow reporters could be arrested in the future too.'
Lawmaker Albert Ho Chun-yan, who is helping Choy in the lawsuit, said both general and exemplary damages would be sought.
'There is an increasing interference on press freedom by the police,' said Ho, a solicitor and chairman of the Democratic Party. 'If the case goes to trial, there will be an open hearing ... and all the facts will be uncovered.'
He added that as police said Choy joined the protest and chanted slogans, the authorities should provide evidence of this.