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A mob in white T-shirts attacked passengers, black-clad extradition bill protesters and journalists on Sunday at Yuen Long MTR station. Photo: Jeffie Lam

Hong Kong press associations ‘strongly condemn’ attacks on journalists at Yuen Long MTR station

  • At least four local journalists attacked by white-clad mob on Sunday, including a woman who was beaten while filming live
  • Media groups denounce violence as ‘serious threat to freedom of press and speech’ – and call on police to deliver justice

Hong Kong press associations have condemned the late-night attack on passengers and journalists at a railway station that left at least four reporters injured.

Local journalists groups on Monday issued statements denouncing the mob of men in white T-shirts who attacked black-clad protesters and passengers with rods and canes at Yuen Long MTR station late on Sunday night. At least 45 people were injured, according to the Hospital Authority.

Members of the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Hong Kong said they were planning to hold a silent protest on Tuesday outside the FCC building in Central under the banner “Yes to press freedom, no to violence against journalists”.

A joint statement issued on Monday by the Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA), the Hong Kong Press Photographers Association and the Independent Commentators Association, made an urgent appeal to the local police to protect citizens and journalists.

“The assault on journalists constitutes a severe infringement of press freedom and the public’s right to know, and hinders [journalists] from fulfilling their duty as the fourth estate,” the statement read.

“We strongly condemn such violent acts and demand the police arrest the attackers still at large.”

Because of the work of journalists, the public is able to understand the truth
Hong Kong News Executives’ Association
According to local media reports, at least four Hong Kong journalists were attacked by the white-clad mob. Two of the victims were reportedly from Apple Daily, the Chinese newspaper, and one each from the Stand News website and Now TV, the cable broadcaster.

Stand News reported that one of its women journalists was attacked while doing a live online report. The news outlet said her hands and right shoulder were hurt and she suffered swelling on the back of her head.

Video footage from Stand News appeared to show the reporter being assaulted while shooting a video of the white-clad mob attacking people. In the video, she was beaten several times before being pushed to the ground. A woman’s scream could be heard a few times and a male voice repeatedly shouted: “Stop! Do not beat the reporter!”

Now TV reported that its cameraman at the MTR station was attacked with canes by several men in white shirts. His video camera was snatched and thrown outside the station, according to the broadcaster, leaving it “completely shattered”.

A protester who was attacked at Yuen Long station by men in white T-shirts. Photo: Jeffie Lam

The Hong Kong News Executives’ Association issued a statement on Monday that “strongly condemned” the mob attack in Yuen Long that left reporters injured. The association also urged the police to follow up the attack in accordance with the law.

“Covering a news event is a journalist’s duty. Because of the work of journalists, the public is able to understand the truth,” the statement said. “To blatantly attack or threaten journalists who are reporting is a serious threat to freedom of press and speech.”

The FCC, in its statement, “expressed solidarity” with the injured journalists. It called on Hong Kong police and authorities to “urgently find and bring to justice those who carried out the unprecedented mob attack”.

The club said its board members would meet members of the HKJA to discuss ways to defend media freedom in Hong Kong. The FCC also called for an independent investigation of all violence directed at journalists by police since the start of the extradition bill protests last month.
This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: media groups condemn incident as ‘severe infringement violationof press freedom’