The Journalists Association will submit a letter to the police chief today to protest the force’s arrest of two journalists who were chasing after the education minister. The Apple Daily reporters were detained by the police for more than 90 minutes on Christmas Eve on suspicion of loitering, even though they produced press cards to officers. Officers also rejected their offer to call their boss to verify their identities on the spot. Association chairwoman Sham Yee-lan said she did not remember any precedent of reporters being arrested when chasing public figures at public occasions. READ MORE: Hong Kong police under fire for detaining two reporters ‘following’ education minister Eddie Ng Hak-kim “Our biggest worry is that this practice will become normal in the future,” said Sham. She said such practice would effectively end their assigned tasks and prevent them from carrying out their watchdog duty. Sham said there were means to verify the two reporters’ identities on the spot, such as asking the Education Bureau’s or police’s public relations staff to contact the reporters’ companies. She also slammed the Secretary for Education Eddie Ng Hak-kim for seeking help from the Security Bureau, which then transferred the case to the police for follow-up action. She suspected that Ng did so to exert pressure on the police to handle the matter exceptionally. She said the association demanded in its letter that the police promise not to use such tactics again in the future. READ MORE: Hong Kong’s education minister, Eddie Ng, accused of abusing power by calling Security Bureau to deal with reporters on his tail Apple Daily ’s editor-in-chief Chan Pui-man said the paper’s reporters had been following Ng to observe his daily work agenda and see how he handled questions over the controversial Territory-wide System Assessment at public events. She said the reporters were merely following him publicly, which was different from breaking into someone’s home and breaching a person’s privacy. “[Arresting reporters] will end their chase of public figures, which is damaging news freedom,” said Chan. But pro-establishment lawmaker Ip Kwok-him said he could not see any problem in Ng’s seeking help from the police if he felt his safety was threatened. Ip said he did not blame the police for being more careful handling the case after receiving the complaint, but he would not comment on whether verification could be achieved on the spot.