Diaoyu Islands

Post photographer Felix Wong beaten by Shenzhen police at protests

PUBLISHED : Monday, 17 September, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 17 September, 2012, 7:29pm

South China Morning Post photographer Felix Wong Chi-keung was pushed to the ground and beaten by Shenzhen police yesterday, while covering anti-Japanese protests in the city.

Four to five officers hit Wong's face, arms, and legs with batons. Wong's face was swollen and a cloth he used to wipe the blood from his face turned red, as seen in television footage from a Hong Kong news crew.

The Post condemned the use of excessive force and said it would lodge a complaint.

"I was taking pictures of policemen chasing some protesters and suddenly one riot officer approached me," Wong said. "I put down my camera and put both hands up. I repeated in Putonghua that I am a reporter, but he didn't heed my words.

"I was pushed down on the ground and then some four to five officers came over and hit me with batons. I kept shouting reporter, reporter, but they didn't stop. They left when they saw my nose was bleeding."

It was noisy, but Wong said he believed the officers should have heard him. He was sent to Shenzhen yesterday as protests erupted over the Japanese government's decision to buy some of the disputed Diaoyu Islands. He was discharged from hospital in Hong Kong last night after being diagnosed with a fractured nose.

Post editor-in-chief Wang Xiangwei said: "We are saddened by what happened to our photographer Felix Wong and condemn the excessive police force used against him, even after he clearly identified himself as a reporter.

"We do not condone violence in any circumstances and will lodge an official complaint."

A Shenzhen government spokesman could not be reached for comment.

Wong was briefly detained in Beijing in 2008 during scuffles between police and reporters covering a queue for Olympic tickets. He was released after expressing regret.

The Federation of Journalists voiced "strong concern and regret". It had expressed its concerns to the central government's liaison office and would contact Shenzhen authorities. Journalists Association chairman Mak Yin-ting warned reporters to be aware of their safety. The Press Photographers Association condemned the violence, urged mainland authorities to respect freedom of reporting and asked the Hong Kong government to help ensure the safety of reporters.