Hong Kong customs officer and wife sue Apple Dailyfor HK$45 million over ‘defamatory’ reports

Man was mocked at work after publication of articles on confrontation in which he was involved, court document claims

PUBLISHED : Friday, 14 April, 2017, 8:48am
UPDATED : Friday, 14 April, 2017, 10:57am

A customs officer and his wife are suing Apple Daily for more than HK$45 million over what they claim was an “offensive portrayal” of them in a story about a confrontation at a Tin Shui Wai park.

In a writ filed at the High Court on Wednesday, Taiga Tang Hin-sun and Luna Pang Kam-ping claimed that a series published by the newspaper – tycoon Jimmy Lai Chee-ying’s flagship media arm – about the dispute between two groups in September defamed them.

The publications as a whole effected an unflattering and highly offensive portrayal of [the plaintiffs].
The couple’s submission

The couple, who were embroiled in the clash, have accused the media firm, an editor and a reporter of making false allegations against them.

The story mentioned the man’s job at the Customs and Excise Department. The couple claim this was “unfair, unjust and unnecessary”, as the incident did not involve him carrying out official duties.

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Tang was purportedly mocked within his department, including 29 “denigrating” posts on an online discussion forum used by customs officers, in the weeks after the story.

“This weighed on the first plaintiff particularly as the first plaintiff was a supervisory officer... The publications as a whole effected an unflattering and highly offensive portrayal of [the plaintiffs],” their submission stated.

Tang and Pang have been immensely harmed, as they developed mental stress and depression, according to the court document.

The couple is asking for “exemplary and aggravated damages” totalling HK$45.13 million.