Hong Kong journalist associations condemn arrest of reporters saying action impedes press freedom
- Two Next Magazine journalists were arrested in Clear Water Bay while carrying out investigative reporting for a story related to assistant police commissioner
- The arrests come ahead of World Press Freedom Day, which reminds governments of their duty to uphold the right to freedom of expression
Two journalists from Next Magazine were arrested on Tuesday for loitering, after a member of the public made an emergency call to the police.
The Hong Kong Journalists Association and the Hong Kong Press Photographers Association issued a joint statement late on Tuesday night condemning the arrest, saying the two reporters had been conducting investigative work related to a senior police figure.
On Tuesday, two Next Magazine journalists visited Pik Shui Sun Tsuen in Clear Water Bay, Sai Kung, at around 4.30pm, reportedly to gather information for a story related to assistant police commissioner Rupert Dover.
The journalists were arrested in visiting Pik Shui Sun Tsuen in Clear Water Bay. Photo: HandoutOne of the police commanders handling the anti-government protests, Dover was reported by Next Magazine to be living in a home without the right to be there under law.
The reporters were arrested at the scene after officers asked them what report they were working on, although they were wearing their press cards and identified themselves as journalists, according to a statement published by the two associations based on information provided by the magazine and its sister publication, Apple Daily.
At Tseung Kwan O Police Station, officers went through their notes and camera, the statement read.
The associations demanded the force explain the reasons for the arrest after the journalists identified themselves on the scene, adding that officers “had no grounds” to search their notes without a court order.
They asked the force to follow up on the incident and issue an apology.
The force said on Wednesday that anyone who felt they were treated unreasonably by officers could file an official report with the Complaints Against Police Office.
Next Magazine is owned by media group Next Digital. Its founder Jimmy Lai Chee-ying was arrested earlier this month along with other opposition figures for taking part in unlawful protests during last year’s anti-government movement.
The magazine slammed police for threatening their journalists and obstructing their investigation.
Sunday is World Press Freedom Day, an annual observance held to raise awareness of the importance of freedom of the press and remind governments of their duty to respect and uphold the right to freedom of expression. Hong Kong currently ranks 80th on the World Press Freedom Index.